National Football League training camps will start in earnest this week (and weekend) as all 32 teams start sorting out rosters for the 2017 season.
This year’s preseason schedule begins on August 3, and we’ll witness plenty of roster moves between then and the start of the games that count. The players we care about most, however, are largely former Syracuse Orange standouts.
Currently, there are 12 SU players on NFL rosters, and Dwight Freeney is a free agent after appearing in last year’s Super Bowl as a 15-year veteran. Should a team sign him this offseason, it’ll be his 16th season (and potentially his fifth NFL franchise, unless the Colts, Chargers, Cardinals or Falcons sign him again).
Aside from Freeney, though, let’s check on the rest of the former Orange in the NFL, and where they’ll be camping this summer.
Jay Bromley, DT / New York Giants (camp: East Rutherford, N.J.)
Bromley played in 15 regular season games at defensive tackle last year, and the Giants’ lone playoff contest (a loss to the Packers) as well. His 14 tackles and one sack may not have been the gaudiest numbers put up for a resurgent New York defense, but he’s gradually worked his way into the rotation as a contributor. Expect even more opportunities for him this season -- which is also a contract year.
Eric Crume, DT / Carolina Panthers (camp: Spartansburg, S.C.)
Crume has yet to record any stats in the NFL through two seasons, but he’s managed to prove his value on the practice squad for the Panthers of late. He’s currently on a futures contract which he signed in January, so this summer will be critical for him as the roster thins out.
Riley Dixon, P / Denver Broncos (camp: Englewood, Colo.)
All-around legend Dixon figured he’d just continue being awesome in the pros, earning all-rookie team honors, averaging nearly 46 yards per punt and even getting a shot at a fake punt last year. Dixon is well on his way to being a legend in Denver just like he was at Syracuse.
Brisly Estime, PR / New York Jets (camp: Florham Park, N.J.)
Estime is out for the year with an Achilles’ tendon tear, unfortunately. We’ll see if he can stick around with the Jets while he rehabs.
Amba Etta-Tawo, WR / Jacksonville Jaguars (camp: Jacksonville, Fla.)
Etta-Tawo arrived at Syracuse South in rookie camp, and now he’ll spend this summer trying to make the squad. The Jags don’t have a ton of quality or experience at wideout right now, so it makes the likelihood he earns a deal more likely. It’ll be interesting to see him in action this preseason (first game: at Patriots on August 10).
Tanard Jackson, S / Washington (camp: Richmond, Va.)
Jackson hasn’t played a game in the NFL since 2011, after getting suspended multiple times for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. It’s probably not worth keeping an eye out this season.
Chandler Jones, LB / Arizona Cardinals (camp: Glendale, Ariz.)
After being traded by the Pats, Jones put any doubts to rest last year while tallying 11 sacks and being a leader on the Cards’ defense. He was rewarded with a fat $83 million extension this offseason, putting him in the upper echelon of defensive line contracts in the league.
Cameron Lynch, LB / Tampa Bay Buccaneers (camp: Tampa, Fla.)
Lynch got some limited burn last season, grabbing three tackles in a few games for the Bucs. While he’s under contract for 2017, none of that money’s guaranteed. His summer will dictate whether or not he’s back in Tampa.
Ryan Nassib, QB / New Orleans Saints (camp: Metairie, La.)
After spending four years backing up Eli Manning in New York, Nassib moves onto the Saints, where Drew Brees may be wrapping up his career. That’s not a guarantee for Nassib at all, but he’ll get a chance to prove he’s the heir apparent this preseason.
Justin Pugh, G / New York Giants
Pugh’s a consistent starter on the Giants’ young line, and expects to cash in next offseason as long as he puts in a solid effort in 2017. New York allowed just 22 sacks all season (third-best figure in the league), and Pugh was a big part of that. He’s a rising name leaguewide on the offensive line.
Shamarko Thomas, S / New York Jets
#SHAMARKO moves on from the Steelers, and he’ll get a go at securing a spot with the Jets’ struggling secondary. Nothing’s guaranteed, but the depth chart situation’s looking open enough that a decent preseason performance could mean he’s on the roster.
Andrew Tiller, G / Kansas City Chiefs (camp: St. Joseph, Mo.)
Tiller’s been the picture of hard work and persistence, spending over four years on NFL practice squads before finally seeing game action for the 49ers in 2016. He’s not guaranteed a contract this season, but he’s signed as of right now. Like many of the players above, preseason is critical for him.