It's the end of May, and some big names are out there. Brian Urlacher,
Charles Woodson headlining the all-unsigned team, with plenty others
behind them. As interesting, most of the names that would be on that
list? They've been out there a while.
It used to be that even aging names would find a roster spot, but
players have struggled to find homes. Dwight Freeney gets to keep his
ill-fitting OLB experiment going with the Chargers after a career as a
Colt, merely because of an injury that'll probably cost Melvin Ingram
the ability to achieve his potential. John Abraham continues to be
available. Ed Reed got in with the Texans, though it appears he duped
them about a hip injury he didn't disclose.
Meanwhile, Urlacher, Woodson were avaialble before the draft, and
remain available now, without many suitors. Age and effectiveness play
a part, but it's a pretty widespread situation for the older players.
But even younger offensive linemen are finding it tough to get out
there. Winston Justice might never have earned his pre-draft potential,
but Eric Winston out-played where I figured he'd be, and just last year
had a new deal with the Chiefs. Do the Chiefs need him? Not anymore,
but you'd absolutely imagine that he'd be useful to someone, somewhere.
Likewise, Jets G Brandon Moore is a top notch player, and he'll have to
find some last minute opportunity to be in camp (where he'll inevitably
win a starting job).
For Carolina, only the OL might make sense (and if you had to cut a
Garry Williams to get better depth, so be it). There's room for
improvement and depth, but chances are, it'd only be one guy. There's
no real space for an aging end, and absolutely no room for Urlacher.
Charles Woodson would be useful, but the team has nickel players coming
out of their ears and Woodson's made a living inside lately himself - he
really might be best used in more limited doses, and that does take
safety out of the equation if so.
I don't know how much of that is monetary expectation right now, on the
part of the aging defenders or the younger OL. But, it's time to find a
chair before the music stops.