Breaking Down the Roster Cuts

We're taking an inside look at the various roster cuts around the NFL this week and why they were made.

Carolina Panthers - Released RB Nick Goings, WR D.J. Hackett, and G Jeremy Bridges.

Analysis: Goings was a favorite of head coach John Fox, so his release was a minor surprise. He was only set to make $745,000 in base salary and was a solid special teams player.

The 31-year old, eight-year pro will be best remembered as a Panther during the 2004 season when he started a career-high eight games while finishing with over 1,200 combined yards and a career-high seven combined touchdowns.

The talented Hackett signed with Carolina during the free agent period of 2008, but struggled to stay healthy and only started two games finished with only 13 catches. Hackett, who played his entire career in the West Coast offense prior to signing with the Panthers, needs to get back in a West Coast system.

Bridges, a versatile lineman who has played guard and tackle, started 28 games for Carolina over the past three seasons, but was arrested for the second time in 16 months in December. Bridges was charged with two counts of simple assault and battery and one count of communicating threats. He had a roster bonus due of $1 million.

Houston Texans - Released OT Ephraim Salaam, DE Anthony Weaver, and S Will Demps.

Analysis: The veteran Salaam was on the final year of his contract and split time at left tackle last season with rookie Duane Brown.

Weaver signed a big free agent contract back in 2006 and never lived up close to that deal with only one sack in a three-year span, so his release wasn't a surprise. He had two years left on his deal and the team will save less than $1 million in cap space because of remaining $5.4 million in proration of his signing bonus. Weaver is best used in a rotation coming off the bench where a team can use his energy on lesser snaps.

Demps started 13 games in his two seasons with the Texans, but was in and out of the lineup.

Indianapolis Colts - Released WR Marvin Harrison.

Analysis: The release wasn't a surprise because he was carrying a salary cap number of over $13 million. With Harrison out of the picture, former first-round pick Anthony Gonzalez moves into the starting lineup. While many believe he's better in the slot, he did a nice job of playing outside two years ago when Harrison was out with a knee injury.

Kansas City Chiefs - Released QB Damon Huard, TE Michael Merritt, WLB Donnie Edwards, and CB Patrick Surtain.

Analysis: With the development of QB Tyler Thigpen last season and with QB Brodie Croyle still on the roster, Huard's job became expendable. The Chiefs have a ton of cap space available, but Huard's release will save around $2 million.

Merritt, a 2008 seventh-round pick, never played last season. He was recently arrested on suspicion of marijuana.

St. Louis Rams - Released QB Trent Green and WR Drew Bennett.

Analysis: Green was released with two years remaining on his deal. The team will save about $2 million in cap space. It will be interesting to see who they sign to back up starter Marc Bulger.

Bennett was a major disappointing for St. Louis considering he looked to be an ascending player when they signed him to a six-year, $30 million deal back in 2007. Bennett only caught 33 passes in 2007 and missed 15 games last season and only caught one pass. Because of the remaining $5 million left in bonus proration he had left on his deal, the cap savings is negligible.

Oakland Raiders - Released OT Kwame Harris and FB Justin Griffith.

Analysis: As noted several weeks ago, Harris was due a $6 million roster bonus and based on his play, there was no way he would receive it. The team is said to be fairly high on his potential replacement, Mario Henderson.

Griffith missed nine games last season due to injury and Oakland still has three other fullbacks left on their roster, so the move wasn't a surprise.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Released RB Warrick Dunn, WR Joey Galloway, LB Cato June, and WLB Derrick Brooks.

Analysis: The team has good depth at the running back position with Earnest Graham and Carnell Williams, so Dunn's release shouldn't be much of a surprise.

Galloway lost his starting job of Antonio Bryant last season and it was just a matter of time that they let him go. Galloway turns 38 in November, but could still find a change of pace role somewhere else.

June was originally signed to be the replacement for Brooks at WLB, but he was moved to SLB where some thought he was too small to play.

The release of Brooks was thought to be at least a year away, but the coaching staff wants to take a longer look at younger linebackers such as Quincy Black and Geno Hayes.

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