It isn’t uncommon for NFL teams to churn the bottom of the expanded training camp roster. Most are undrafted free agents who were had long shot chances anyway.
For instance, the Lions recently released Spencer Nealy in favor of Xavier Proctor. While that move wouldn’t have caused a raise of an eyebrow of any Lions fan the other move of the day may have when the Lions waived Ricardo Silva.
An undrafted free agent in 2011, Silva spent time on the practice squad and active roster over the past two seasons. But after falling down the depth chart and lacking practice squad eligibility, the Lions obviously felt the roster spot was better used on someone else.
And that begs the question, who might be the next vet caught in a similar situation? At the moment that dubious distinction belongs to wide receiver Mike Thomas.
Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles are easy calls and make up half the expected group of six receivers on the final 53-man roster. Patrick Edwards has built on his solid 2012 training camp and is getting a lot of run as an outside receiver, just what the Lions need opposite Calvin Johnson. Pencil him in as the number four and add another outside receiver, the recently signed Chaz Schilens or or even Kris Durham, and that leaves just one wide receiver roster spot remaining.
That player will have to fill a role on special teams, which Mike Thomas can do, but he isn’t a better option than Micheal Spurlock who could hold down return duties.
Despite the tight numbers looking ahead to how the final roster could shake out, the risk of injury looks as one big reason not to cut bait with Thomas too early. That being said, the writing may be on the wall according to MLive’s Justin Rogers in his observations from yesterday’s practice:
He’s been buried on the depth chart, mostly working with the third unit. Friday, during one-on-one drills with the defensive backs, he was completely shut down by (Domonique) Johnson. It was so bad, Thomas stopped running the route and quarterback Matthew Stafford didn’t even throw the ball. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before outside of the occasions when a receiver falls down.
Needless to say, it’s not looking good.