Posted September 03, 2013

Jonathan Dwyer, Kenny Phillips among cut players who could find new homes soon

NFL Free Agency
The Steelers' leading rusher in 2012, Jonathan Dwyer was released by the team Saturday.

The Steelers’ leading rusher in 2012, Jonathan Dwyer was released by the team Saturday. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

“We’ll continue to compare the bottom of our roster versus the field, like all teams do this time of year,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday. “There are a lot of quality players out there, and we’re in the process of evaluating them.”

In other words, no 53-man NFL roster today looks exactly as it will look 17 weeks — or even 17 days — from now. Front offices are constantly searching the scrap heap for usable parts, and the recent influx of players to free agency only accelerated that process.

And with that in mind, here are a few of the guys cut last week who could have value for another team:

Jonathan Dwyer, RB: Dwyer’s release came as a surprise, given that he knew the Steelers’ system and performed rather well for them.

However, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Steelers’ decision was spurred by the fact that “his coaches did not feel he took his job seriously enough.” Dwyer also arrived at camp weighing 265 pounds, up 36 from his listed weight in 2012. He’ll have to fight the growing perception that he’s unmotivated, but his experience ought to land him at least a second look somewhere.

Michael Robinson, FB: A $2.5 million contract and the recent revelation that Robinson could miss several weeks with an undisclosed illness led to his release in Seattle. Once he’s healthy, he could provide a fullback-needy team with a proven, versatile option.

Stephen Peterman, G: The 31-year-old Peterman may be limited to filling out a depth chart now after being cut by the Jets. He actually didn’t even make it through New York’s first round of cuts, getting the ax to help the team reach the initial 75-man roster limit. Peterman did grade out neutrally in Pro Football Focus’ rankings last season as a member of the Lions.

Chris Kluwe, P: Kluwe lost the Raiders’ punting battle this preseason to Marquette King. Punters do not generate the strongest market, but Kluwe has averaged a respectable 45.3 yards per punt over the past two seasons. Though that number doesn’t challenge the NFL’s top dogs at the position, such as Brandon Fields (50.2) or Andy Lee (50.9 in 2011), Kluwe should eventually get another opportunity.

Vince Young, QB: Take your pick of reclamation projects at quarterback. Young, Matt Leinart, JaMarcus Russell, Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow are all sitting out there at the moment.

The 30-year-old Young could not stick in Green Bay, after being given the opportunity to serve as Aaron Rodgers’ backup — the Packers signed Seneca Wallace this week to take over that job. The reviews on Young out of Green Bay were not all that glowing either, so Young may not find a new home overnight. Still, of the QBs available, he’s the most talented.

Max Starks, OT: That Starks could not hold off King Dunlap on a shoddy San Diego line does not bode well for his future prospects. He did start all 16 games for Pittsburgh last season, though, so he may wind up back in the Steel City before all is said and done. Before long, there will be a team out there looking to add some veteran depth on the line.

Braylon Edwards/Austin Collie, WR: A pair of formerly talented wide receivers who have been unable to shake injury woes of late. Edwards caught five passes in two games for the Jets this preseason, but he again struggled to stay on the field — a leg injury limited him in the days leading up to his release.

Collie, meanwhile, seemed to have a shot on a 49ers roster in need of help at receiver. But he failed to make much of an impact, still hobbled from the knee injury he suffered last season. Collie, like Edwards, has enough ability left to keep plugging away, but both players will need to find favorable landing spots.

Kenny Phillips, S: Phillips has gradually drifted into the Bob Sanders Zone. Sanders, a Colt from 2004-10 before a brief stop in San Diego, had all the talent in the world and simply could not stay on the field. Phillips has had similar issues, though he started 15 games in both 2010 and ’11.

Lingering knee woes led to the Giants letting Phillips walk this offseason, and he was then unable to secure a spot in the Philadelphia secondary. He’s an extremely solid player when healthy … which has not been often enough.

Ron Bartell, CB: Despite having a headstart of several months on Rashean Mathis, Bartell still lost his gig in the Detroit secondary (a shoulder injury did not help). At 31, he’s on the downside of his career, but is still capable of pitching in at cornerback, at least in a nickel role.

Andre Carter, DE: Does the 34-year-old Carter still want to play? Being released by the downtrodden Raiders probably will not help his motivation level. That said, he’s just one season removed from a 10-sack showing with the Patriots. There are teams out there shy on situational pass-rushers, and Carter fits the bill, if he wants to keep going.

20 comments
Bill26
Bill26

Kenny Phillips was the Giants' 1st round draft pick in 2008. He was a two time second team All American from USC. He played in 31 of 32 games in 2010/2011. As recently as 2011 he played a major role in the Giants' Super Bowl run with 59 solo tackles and 4 picks. Unfortunately knee problems recurred in 2012 and Phillips was upset with the way the Giants handled his in-season rehab. 

The Giants offered him a contract before he hit free-agency, But he decided to try free agency (coming off an injury-plagued season) and ended up with the Eagles with a worse contract than the Giants had offered. His pique at the Giants handling of his latest injury may have impaired his good judgment.

He is still a very good safety when on the field. The word is that his knee condition is degenerative but no one knows for sure. Since he is only 26, he is worth a shot by some team that can give Kenny the time he needs to recover. The Giants, although they lost Phillip's replacement for the season, have not shown any interest in bringing him back. 

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

Johnathan Dwyer should get picked up soon.  I still think Vince Young is better than some of the backup QB's and 3rd string QB's floating around the NFL.

Yellowbellly
Yellowbellly

Cowboys could use Starks.  Can't believe they haven't grabbed him yet.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

There isn't a single player on this list worth retaining. What a waste of time this article was...

Jerkzilla
Jerkzilla

Vince Young is a prime example of why you don't draft a QB who can't get double digits on the Wonderlic. 

souvien
souvien

Hard to believe John Connor won't make a team...

k15
k15

Kenny Phillips??  The Eagles are dying for Secondary help and released him.  He is done.  What more needs to happen to show you that ?

Terry22
Terry22

Glad to see Lavelle Hawkins 49ers WR not make this list. Guy has an  attitude that doesn't help but clearly talented. If he gets stuck on the Niners practice squad, I'm happy he'll be back and well know by this time next year.

ROLL TIDE1
ROLL TIDE1

I'd give Kenny Phillips another shot......the rest have too much baggage

crimsonmastodon
crimsonmastodon

I find it funny that the Jets signed Brady Quinn,  a QB who couldn't beat out Tim Tebow for the starting QB job at Denver.

OffshoreInsiders.com
OffshoreInsiders.com

That Steelers running game is shaky. Benji is getting old. It will be a long year for the Stillers.  

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@Yellowbellly  I still have no clue why they held onto Doug Free.  Even at $3.5M, he's overpaid and overmatched

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@Joebuckster Dwyer & Young would be worth a shot but the rest of them I completely agree with you. 

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@Jerkzilla Ahh, you mean like Dan Marino, Randall Cunningham and Jim Kelly... All 15, just like VY...