Training Camp Notes: Cuts Like a Knile

Note: Knile Davis was NOT cut by the Chiefs. I just couldn’t resist the pun, sorry. It feels so right, baby.

– the biggest non-cut news from the past 24 hours was Aldon Smith receiving a nine-game suspension for a combo violation of the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies. Chris Liss has already talked (and talked, and talked…) about Josh Gordon’s year-long banishment, but it’s hard not to roll your eyes at a disciplinary system that hands out 16-game suspensions for what may have been exposure to second-hand sinsemilla, but gives about half that to Smith for multiple DUIs, multiple weapons charges and a freaking airport bomb threat. Regardless, owners who already spent a relatively high pick on the 49ers defense will just have to grit their teeth and suck it up while Smith is sidelined.

– Nate Burleson, who was considered a potential Gordon replacement for the Browns early in the offseason, has been cut by Cleveland after battling hamstring issues. Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins remain the least unimpressive wideout options on the roster.

– other vaguely fantasy-relevant names of note who didn’t make their team’s cuts: Stephen Hill (Jets); Robert Meachem (Saints); Mikel Leshoure (Lions); Daniel Thomas (Dolphins); Lache Seastrunk (Washington); Terrelle Pryor (Seahawks)

– lots of blood-letting among the incumbent kickers. Cody Parkey pipped Alex Henery for the Eagles’  job; Ryan Succop lost the Chiefs’ gig to Cairo Santos; Patrick Murray beat out Connor Barth in Tampa; and the Saints cleared out everybody they had in camp, including Shayne Graham, and will sift through other teams’ leftovers for someone to boot their field goals. Basically, lots of good news for anyone who employed the don’t use a draft pick on a kicker strategy.

– the Raiders seem to want David Ausberry to be their starting tight end, but Ausberry’s knee refuses to cooperate. That leaves Mychal Rivera, who made a fairly spectacular TD catch this week on a tipped David Carr pass, as the guy by default. Rivera doesn’t have the size and speed of a modern TE/power forward hybrid, but he runs good routes and, while he sometimes dropped some easy ones last year (3rd-worst drop rate among TEs in 2013 according to PFF, which might explain why the Raiders aren’t thrilled with him), he clearly has the potential to be a good hands guy. Matt Schaub has a history of working well with his tight ends, while rookie QBs like Carr usually need a security blanket, so whoever is under center for Oakland could end up looking Rivera’s way a lot.

– Kyle Orton, tired of caddying for Tony Romo the last two seasons, threatened retirement to get himself cut earlier this offseason and will instead back up EJ Manuel after signing with the Bills. Something must have really gotten under Orton’s skin in Dallas, because it’s hard to see how the situation in Buffalo will be an improvement for him, either in terms of the likelihood of starting or in terms of the numbers he’d be able to put up if he did. Still, Manuel isn’t such a lock that you can ignore Orton;s new landing spot entirely.

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