NFL teams have until August 31 to trim their rosters down to 53. For undrafted rookies and aging veterans alike, the rest of the preseason may be their last chance to secure a spot on their team’s roster for the upcoming season.
Here are five veterans who may not be so lucky come September.
1. Terrelle Pryor – WR, Jaguars
The former Ohio State quarterback has gathered a long itinerary, having suited up for nine NFL teams in his eight-year career and not fitting in well in any of them despite the occasional flash of brilliance. Now having settled in as a wide receiver, Pryor will have his work cut out for him breaking into Nick Foles’ new receiver corps, which is already five-deep.
He may stand a better chance of staying on the team if Marquise Lee is slow to recover from his knee injury, but he will still need a good preseason showing to cement his place.
2. Geno Smith – QB, Seahawks
Now on his fourth NFL team, Smith is desperate to save his NFL career, which has so far been mired in disappointment. Smith is competing with Paxton Lynch for the position of backing up Russell Wilson. Smith got the nod to start the opening preseason game, but a minor knee injury will keep him off the field for 7-10 days, giving Lynch a golden opportunity to prove himself to coach Pete Carroll.
3. Richie Incognito – OL, Raiders
Under ordinary circumstances, a setback such as the injury to right guard Gabe Jackson would thrust Incognito into the starting role. But this is Richie Incognito, and these are the Raiders, and Incognito still has to serve a two-game suspension for an off-season incident. He still has the next three exhibition games to prove his worth to the team, but with both the Hard Knocks crew and the Antonio Brown circus, the Raiders may not want another potential distraction hanging around.
4. Nelson Agholor – WR, Eagles
Doug Pederson’s team has waited for this wideout to show his true potential, but so far, that hasn’t fully panned out. Over four NFL seasons, his best totals came in 2017, when he caught 62 passes for 768 yards, both of which declined the following year even though he played six more games.
Now Agholor is on the final year of his contract and facing unexpected competition for his job. This off-season, the Eagles made a surprising reunion with DeSean Jackson, while also signing JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who has impressed at training camp. If both perform well enough, Agholor could be caught on the outside.
5. Mason Crosby – K, Packers
There’s no skirting around it – Mason Crosby had a shaky 2018 season. The lowest point came in Detroit last October, when his five missed kicks cost Green Bay 13 points. One of the few players left from the Super Bowl XLV champions must now compete for his job with Sam Ficken, the former Ram who has appeared in only two NFL games.
The two have shared kicking duties thus far this preseason, and were both two-for-two on extra points in Thursday’s win over the Texans. So far, it appears to be dead even.