The 2017 NFL offseason is officially underway, and several teams have wasted no time making some roster moves.
On Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers let go of cornerback Justin Gilbert, who was the #8 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Gilbert was chosen by the Cleveland Browns (who would draft Johnny Manziel later in the first round), and lasted just two disastrous seasons with the team. Before the start of the 2016 regular season, Cleveland traded Gilbert to the Steelers for a 2018 6th round pick. Pittsburgh put him on special teams duties, and he returned three kickoffs for 69 yards. Otherwise, the only tackle he recorded (per Pro Football Reference) was on a Pat McAfee fake punt pass.
This report from 2015, along with this one from 2016, combined with the below tweet by Browns left tackle Joe Thomas pretty much tells you all you need to know about how Gilbert’s time in Cleveland went.
If you don't like football, it doesn't matter how talented you are, your star will burn out quick. https://t.co/r7PfDSTljL— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) February 6, 2017
Speaking of the Browns, they released veteran backup quarterback Josh McCown, as well as cornerback Tramon Williams, who was entering the final year of a three-year, $1 million contract. Cleveland saved themselves over $11 million in salary cap space by cutting both men.
McCown is 37 years old and took a beating in the three games he played this past season, but he evidently wants to continue playing. On an unrelated note, Luke McCown is also still in the league.
If the name Tramon Williams sounds familiar, allow me to jog your memory.
Williams will be 34 years old before next season kicks off, and he only started seven of the twelve games he played in the 2016 campaign, both career lows. He previously spent eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, winning a Super Bowl in the 2010 season. He racked up ten interceptions from 2010-2011, but has only managed the same amount of interceptions from 2012-2016.
Speaking of the Packers — I’ll pat myself on the back for this segue — they’ve released veteran running back James Starks with a non-football injury designation. This is not a surprising move, as the 30-year-old had sustained a concussion in a December car accident, and hadn’t cleared concussion protocol for the NFC Championship Game. Even before the accident, Starks had missed time due to a knee injury, and was not producing when he was on the field. Starks had rushed for just 145 yards on 63 carries (2.3 YPC), to go along with 19 catches for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns. As Adam Schefter notes, there is still a chance Starks could return at a reduced salary, as opposed to the $3 million he was set to earn had Green Bay not cut him. Still, with Eddie Lacy entering free agency, it’ll be interesting to see how the Packers backfield will look come next season.
I would imagine that of the players released over the past two days, the only ones of slight interest to the Seahawks would be Gilbert and Williams. Given what we know of Gilbert’s history, he may be a lost cause already, but he is still just 25 years old. Williams is past his prime and up there in age, but with the Seahawks starved for some CB depth, he might be worth a cheap flyer.