Training camp is a time of hope for NFL fans -- and anxiety for some NFL veterans. Below is an incomplete list of some notable names at risk of being released before the start of the season.
Donald Penn, OT, Oakland Raiders: Then-Bucs coach Jon Gruden signed Penn as an undrafted free agent more than a decade ago. It would be on brand for Gruden, who was quietly ruthless with personnel decisions in Tampa, to make letting go of Penn one of his first big moves in Oakland. The drafting of Kolton Miller in the first round was the first ominous sign. Gruden's decision to keep Miller at left tackle during offseason practices, rather than moving him to the right side, was another one. While Gruden has insisted the arrival of Miller has nothing to do with Penn, the 35-year-old is coming off Lisfranc foot surgery. The guaranteed money in his contract ($3 million of his $6 million base salary) should help Penn make the team, but he has to prove he's healthy first.
Brett Hundley, QB, Green Bay Packers: The Packers couldn't score last season without Aaron Rodgers, so they made scapegoats out of former coordinator Edgar Bennett and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt by firing them. Don't be surprised if Hundley is next. If trade acquisition DeShone Kizer outplays Hundley in August, the Packers might decide to only keep two quarterbacks.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Perriman could give Matt Elam some competition as the biggest first-round draft bust in team history, especially if Perriman can't make the team in August. The Ravens are no longer relying on Perriman, who posted a grand total of 43 catches in his first three seasons, to play a big role. The team recently picked up a $649,485 roster bonus that helps his chances to make the team, but it doesn't guarantee a spot. He still needs to stay healthy and possibly beat out John Brown just to earn snaps this season. A No. 4 receiver without special teams value is a No. 4 receiver at risk of not making the team.
Mike Gillislee, RB, New England Patriots: Talked up a year ago by fantasy leaguers as the New England running back to draft, Gillislee wound up playing just 15 snaps after Week 8 because he lacks versatility on passing downs. At best, he's battling Bengals import Jeremy Hill for one reserve spot this year. It's possible neither of them make the team.
Doug Martin, RB, Oakland Raiders: Martin has reportedly looked good in offseason workouts, but the terms of his contract don't provide much protection. He's due $1.375 million if he makes the team, with none of it guaranteed. Marshawn Lynch already has promising backups in DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, so no one should assume Martin is a lock for the backup job.
John Simon, DE, Indianapolis Colts: One of the best players on a forgettable Colts defense last season, Simon could fall victim to a scheme change in Indianapolis. After playing outside linebacker for his entire NFL career, Simon is being moved to defensive end in new coordinator Matt Eberflus' system. He could make for a valuable early-September pickup for some other team.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Like Martin's deal in Oakland, Marshall's pact with the Seahawks contained very little risk for the Seahawks. He earned just $90,000 upon signing and is in line for the veteran's minimum. Marshall has come back strong from many surgeries before, but he's now 34 years old coming off his two worst seasons since his rookie campaign. Seattle would benefit greatly from one last Marshall resurrection, as snaps are available in the Seahawks' receiver group.
Michael Johnson, DE, Cincinnati Bengals: It's not like Cincinnati is desperate for salary-cap room, but a $6.1 million cap figure is still a lot for a role-playing veteran like Johnson. The Bengals might not want him to take snaps away from youngsters Jordan Willis, Carl Lawson and third-round pick Sam Hubbard.
More likely to be traded than cut
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, New York Jets: A late-August trade would be a best-case scenario for Bridgewater and the Jets. It would signify that Teddy is healthy and playing well enough to inspire interest elsewhere. The Jets are not going to release Josh McCown, and Sam Darnold is the future (if not the present). Bridgewater's $5 million makes him the 10th-highest-paid player on the team, yet his $500,000 signing bonus was the only guaranteed part of his contract.
Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver Broncos: This would be an embarrassing scenario for Lynch and Denver GM John Elway. The Broncos have publicly expressed faith in Lynch, but he will be fighting with last year's seventh-round pick, Chad Kelly, just to be Case Keenum's backup. If Lynch loses that battle, Elway might be forced to dump Lynch, his 2016 first-rounder, for a conditional late-round pick, all while hoping Keenum can save the franchise. Strange days.
Should find a way to stay
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baltimore Ravens: It was no accident that the Ravens paired Lamar Jackson with RGIII. If Jackson is the long-term answer as Baltimore's starter, the Ravens are hoping Griffin can be a long-term solution as a backup. There's no telling how he'll perform after a year out of football, but all the signs point toward Baltimore rolling with three quarterbacks this season.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions: It's crowded in the Lions backfield, with LeGarrette Blount, rookie Kerryon Johnson and passing-down specialist Theo Riddick in the mix. That puts Abdullah squarely on the bubble, but his talent should keep him around. It's not like Blount or Johnson are sure things, so I wouldn't even rule out Abdullah earning a significant role in this offense again.
Jermaine Kearse, WR, New York Jets: Speculation about Kearse's role on the team seems misplaced. He played well last season, topping 800 yards, and is arguably the surest receiver in a talented group that includes Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Terrelle Pryor. The Jets should not be in the habit of giving away NFL-caliber receivers. Enjoy the surplus!
Dwayne Allen, TE, New England Patriots: Perhaps the Patriots pull off their usual mind control and convince Allen he needs to take a pay cut. While it makes no sense that he's the seventh-highest-paid player on the team, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels aren't going to enter a season without a capable blocking tight end behind Gronk. Allen is the only one on the roster.