The harsh reality in the NFL is that nearly every player is expendable. And, like those heartbroken high school kids that don't see their name on the final "made it" list, grown men face the devastating chopping block as well. Sometimes a team shows some class in releasing a player by giving them enough time to land with another team.
A day after the Eric Wright debacle occurred between the Buccaneers and 49ers, the Denver Broncos released one of their players as well. Joe Mays, who manned the middle linebacker spot for Denver in 2011 and part of 2012, was released on Tuesday. The move is both surprising and expected and paves the way for Nate Irving to take over the spot.
It is a surprising move because it is sudden and just a few days before camp. However, it does come as an expected move as well because Mays is coming off of a major injury from last year and is carrying a $4 million salary. Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com conjectures that the freeing up of Mays' money is in an effort to put towards a player to be a stopgap for the four games that Von Miller will be missing. We'll see.
And, even though the Bengals have a question mark of their own at middle linebacker, we don't see Mays joining the Bengals for this year's camp. We don't know how well Mays is feeling after breaking his leg and ankle last year, nor do we know how much money he'll be commanding. The Bengals appear to have pushed their chips in the middle of the table with a bet on Rey Maualuga, and seem intent to see that through. Still the Bengals have a couple of open spots heading into camp, so we'll see who they get to fill those.