Wait, what about me?
The NFL draft can be a cruel taste of reality for veterans around the league as they realize their teams are loading up at positions their incumbent players thought were already filled.
Former Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge learned the hard way how futures can change in one pick, as he went from an encouraging mentor to an unemployed 31-year-old after David Njoku was drafted in the first round.
Here are 10 other veterans who were left shaking their heads as they watched their job security slip away during the 2017 NFL Draft.
Mark Ingram, Saints
Ingram played the good soldier after the Saints gave him direct competition by signing Adrian Peterson, but he must be able to read between the lines by this point.
The Saints traded their 2018 second-round pick to move into the top of the third round for Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara, who had been projected as a possible late first-rounder. Kamara will likely be used as a receiving back as a rookie, but with a $5.2-million cap hit in 2017 and a $1.65-million dead cap hit in 2018, Ingram’s stay in New Orleans likely won’t continue past this season.
Mike Glennon, Bears
Mike Glennon finally thought he would be the unquestioned leader of an NFL offense. Nope!
After leaving Tampa Bay and signing a three-year, $45-million contract with $18.5 million guaranteed, Glennon appeared to have pulled himself out from the shadow of Jameis Winston, only to lose the spotlight to another top-two draft pick.
Suddenly, that Bears contract goes from a “What are they doing?” move to “Hey, that’s a pretty good bridge deal,” since Glennon will only be holding down the fort until Mitchell Trubisky is ready to take over.
Malcolm Smith, 49ers
Getting a five-year, $26.5-million contract is usually a pretty good sign you’ll be starting – but the draft can change everything.
The 49ers likely didn’t expect Reuben Foster to be available at the 31st pick, but had no problem trading back into the first round to grab him in hopes he can replace Patrick Willis. With NaVorro Bowman a lock to play every down (as long as he’s healthy), Smith may see a lot of the bench through his five-year deal if his fellow inside linebackers can avoid injuries.
Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries, Bucs
As the Buccaneers’ offense got supercharged through the draft, two 2016 breakout players are wondering what more they could have done.
Brate and Humphries were high-value players for the Buccaneers in 2016, as they were still on their rookie deals as undrafted free agents. After Tampa Bay selected tight end O.J. Howard and receiver Chris Godwin in the first three rounds, though, Brate’s and Humphries’ roles may be significantly reduced.
Orlando Franklin, Chargers
The 29-year-old veteran signed a five-year deal with the Chargers in 2015 and will relocate to Los Angeles this season – but for how long?
Franklin may want to rent instead of buying after the Chargers doubled up on guards in the second and third rounds with Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney.
Sammie Coates, Steelers
Really, this could apply to any Steelers receiver not named Antonio Brown.
Despite getting Martavis Bryant back from suspension and having 11 receivers on the roster, Pittsburgh felt it still needed pass-catcher help and took USC star JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round.
Bryant, however, appeared quite confident about his roster spot, calling out fellow receiver Sammie Coates after Smith-Schuster came off the board.
Calvin Pryor, Jets
The Jets are reportedly looking to shop 2014 first-rounder Pryor and the reason should be obvious.
With their first two picks of the 2017 draft, the Jets took LSU safety Jamal Adams sixth overall and Florida safety Marcus Maye in the second round, making it fairly clear that Pryor’s days in New York are numbered.
Giovani Bernard, Bengals
Bengals running back Jeremy Hill called his backfield the best in the league after controversial Oklahoma runner Joe Mixon was drafted to Cincinnati in the second round. But only one guy can carry the rock at a time.
Giovani Bernard looks to be the odd man out, having taken just 91 carries in 2016 before suffering a torn ACL in November. The 25-year-old signed a three-year, $15.5-million extension through 2019 ahead of the 2016 season and could now be a trade candidate – if he’s not outright cut.
Nolan Carroll, Cowboys
After the Cowboys lost four members of their secondary through free agency, Carroll must have thought signing a three-year deal in Dallas gave him a great chance to be on the field.
Then the Cowboys took back-to-back cornerbacks in the second and third rounds, finding great value at both spots. Colorado corner Chidobe Awuzie is projected to be a Day 1 starter from the nickelback position, and Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis would have been a second-rounder too if he hadn’t been accused of domestic violence this spring.
With Orlando Scandrick expected to get his starting cornerback job back, it’s tough luck for Carroll.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
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