Over the past few weeks, NFL team OTAs and minicamps have broken up, leaving players with six weeks of freedom before reporting for training camp.
Some players are sure locks to make the team, and others are just camp bodies with little hope of seeing a game check in the NFL. But for some others on the bubble, the scales could tip either way, leading to NFL glory or street free agency. Most of the tiers are pretty clearly defined, but every so often one so-called "lock" is cut, whether for cap reasons or a lack of performance. While it's never easy to predict, especially with Bill Belichick, it's definitely something to think about as August, and camp, approaches. With all that in mind, here are three veteran "locks" who could be cut before the season kicks off this year.
1. Aaron Dobson
Dobson is a perennial favorite on these lists, but it's for good reason. After being drafted in the second round back in 2013, Dobson has fallen prey to a slew of injuries, and hasn't been effective when on the field, leading many to wonder if patience has run out for him in Foxboro. While he looked good in OTAs, he's been a summer sweetheart before this and doesn't have anything to show for it. Unless he steps up in training camp and the preseason, don't be surprised to see him traded or cut.
2. LeGarrette Blount
One less obvious candidate here is LeGarrette Blount. While he's currently penciled in as the team's starting power back, he was ineffective at various points throughout last season, and his off-the-field issues haven't built him a lot of goodwill in New England. With veteran Donald Brown, second-year Joey Iosefa, and undrafted rookie DJ Foster on the roster, the Pats have options as far as other bell-cow backs (Brown, Iosefa), and Foster could form a nice 1-2 receiving punch with Dion Lewis. If he underperforms during training camp or suffers an injury, no matter how minor, Blount could be expendable.
3. Marcus Cannon
The main reason for the Patriots' postseason downfall last year was the offensive line, and Marcus Cannon was a big part of that problem. After injuries to Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, the O-Line failed to protect Tom Brady throughout the playoffs, eventually leading to an ugly AFC Championship game loss. Surprisingly to many, Cannon is still on the team despite his terrible play last year, but his spot on the roster isn't safe by any stretch. Once again, if he doesn't step up in training camp, he will be a top trade target, or a cut if no other teams are interested.
Photo courtesy ESPN.com
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