Eventually, the axe falls on most everyone in the NFL. It doesn't matter how long you've contributed, whether you're a great person off the field or how much the fans care about you. If your production doesn't live up to your cap number—or if a team is in a cap crunch—you may be gone.

Stephen Nicholas unfortunately may be one of those casualties.

On paper, Nicholas had one of his best seasons last year, putting up nearly 100 tackles, deflecting four passes, coming up with two sacks and picking off one pass. A closer look at how he fared in general against both the pass and the run, however, shows you that he was average in both facets over the life of the season.