Peters' future directly impacts RT Chambers (Photo Source)
It's cut-down day in the NFL, and as such, the Buffalo Bills will be releasing 22 players (or more, if there's anyone worthwhile on waivers) in an effort to get down to the NFL-mandated 53-man limit by 6:00 PM EST today. The cut-downs mark the final pre-season event; once the cuts are made, all attention turns to the Seattle Seahawks.
With the Bills' releases not expected to be announced until later on this afternoon (we likely won't know about them until after 6PM), let's speculate as to who the most nervous Buffalo Bills players are today. These guys, in nearly every case, are toeing the line between being able to make an impact and being unemployed.
RB Xavier Omon: It's fairly safe to assume that the rookie sixth-round pick out of Division II NW Missouri State has passed Dwayne Wright on the depth chart, thanks in large part to Wright's infuriating tendency to fumble the ball once per game. It's rare, however, that a player is simply handed a roster spot by default, and there are sure to be some interesting names to be kicking around the waiver wire today at running back. If anyone piques the interest of the Bills, Omon might see the roster spot Wright tried to hand to him given to someone else. If that happens, Omon is a virtual lock for the practice squad, but you can bet Omon's not sitting easy today.
WR Steve Johnson: The rookie out of Kentucky made an excellent last-gasp stab at making the roster on Thursday night - catching 8 passes for 74 yards in the pre-season finale - and it may have worked. However, injury issues at other positions (specifically tight end) may make it difficult for the Bills to find a spot for Johnson on the final roster. You can bet the Bills are nervous about this kid, too; if it turns out they're going to gamble to try to stash him on the practice squad, there are surely going to be some interested teams out there eyeing Johnson.
TE Courtney Anderson: The Bills employ five tight ends, and two of them - Derek Schouman and rookie Derek Fine - likely won't be ready for the regular season opener. That means good things for the veteran Anderson, right? Maybe not. Tim Massaquoi is a favorite of special teams coach Bobby April, Robert Royal is a lock, and the Bills are likely to keep one of the Dereks, if not both. Anderson's upside is the lowest of any of the Bills' tight ends, and his special teams skills aren't thrilling. Even with the injuries, Anderson could be a goner.
OT Kirk Chambers: No, Chambers isn't getting cut. Not even close. But if the rumors that Jason Peters could report to Orchard Park on Monday are true - and I think an "I'll believe it when I see it" approach is prudent for such speculation - then Chambers' starting job won't be his for much longer. That said, Chambers has grown on me. He's not a horrible player, has the ability to play both sides (though not well on the left), and he won't make a stink if Peters returns. Dare I say that Chambers has put the Bills in a good situation at tackle? Still, there's nothing like job security in the NFL, and Chambers doesn't have much of it.
LB Donnie Spragan: Signed after the season-ending injury to rookie LB Alvin Bowen, Spragan has watched players like rookie Marcus Buggs and converted safety Jon Corto get more playing time at his spot, and another linebacker (Blake Costanzo) currently has an edge over him on special teams. Add in the fact that the Bills have superb depth in the defensive backfield, and Spragan's stint as a Buffalo Bill might just end today.
CB Will James: I believe it likely that the Bills keep six cornerbacks, and if that happens, James stays. But if the Bills have to trim their CB depth to five (and again, that's probably not likely), it's James that is the corner most likely to go. The starters aren't going. The two rookies (Leodis McKelvin and Reggie Corner) aren't going. Ashton Youboty has been arguably the team's best defender this pre-season, while James has been solid yet highly unspectacular. If a corner's going, it's James, and while my gut says he stays, you can bet his gut isn't sitting easy right now.
Stay tuned to Buffalo Rumblings throughout the day, as we'll have the list of cuts and some immediate analysis up as soon as we get wind of it. Let's get this over with, Buffalo - it's time to play real football.