If you're familiar with Black Monday, the day where most NFL coaches get fired if they're on the hot seat, then today would have been its identical twin for players. Big name players all over the league are getting released or shopped in an effort for teams to gain financial flexibility.
Let's take a look at the big story lines:
- The New York Jets made news by releasing Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie. The Jets may not be done as they have another tough decision to make on Mark Sanchez.
The Jets probably did themselves a favor here. Cromartie and Holmes are really becoming more of a headache than anything else. The outspoken players have helped breed an out-spoken culture and if the Jets want to return to prominence, this is the way to start.
- Ex-Steelers and Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall has called it quits after a six year career. Mendenhall cites the stress of constantly being under a microscope as the contributing factor to his decision and not a lack of desire to play the game.
As an Operation Iraqi Freedom (otherwise known as OIF) veteran, I never liked Mendenhall after his comments about the war and troops. However, it sucks to see a good, talented guy have to hang it up for being the victim of racially motivated bullying via social media. I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
- Other big names getting their pink slip were Chicago Bears RB Michael Bush, longtime Denver Bronco's DB Champ Bailey and Hard-hitting Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley.
All these guys are good players who were just casualty to the NFL as a business. I believe they all still have a future in football. I particularly hope that Champ gets an opportunity to play for a Super Bowl contender.
- Lastly, in a bit of odd news there are two players who could make headlines in the upcoming hours or days. The Carolina Panthers are reportedly shopping WR Steve Smith and the Chicago Bears are said to be shopping Julius Peppers.
Smith and Peppers are in the exact same position, likely to face the exact same fate. They are two veteran players who make too much money and have a declining skill set. The Bears are ready to bring in new, young talent to rebuild their aging defense and the Panthers are ready to bring in any WR named Hakeem Nicks. Just the way it goes.