Most Surprising NFC Roster Cuts
by DS WilliamsonOn Sep. 1, all NFL teams trimmed down to their regular season 53-man rosters, and their were some very surprising NFC roster cuts to guys that made significant contributions last season. Time will tell if these decisions have a lasting on Week 1 of NFL betting pans out.
NFC EAST Dan Bailey getting walking papers is the most staggering decision in this division.
New York Giants – The Giants cut wide receiver Roger Lewis, who started 8 games for the G-Men last season. He caught 36 passes for 416 yards and 2 TDs. It’s a surprising move because Lewis has starter’s experience while the Giants are thin at wide receiver after starters Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.
Washington Redskins – Washington decided to go with only 2 quarterbacks this season. By cutting former Stanford star Kevin Hogan, the team has only Colt McCoy to back up starter Alex Smith. McCoy’s a good backup, but he’s 31-years-old. Smith is 34-years-old. One of the reasons that this is such amongst the most surprising NFC roster cuts is because Washington's lacking depth reeks of a "win now" attitude, that the rest of the roster doesn't necessarily reflect. The Redskins must feel that they can make the playoffs this season. Why else cut the youngest quarterback on the roster?
Philadelphia Eagles – It's hard to knock the Eagles at all because they're the defending Super Bowl champions and have depth at every position. But considering their uncertainty at quarterback, it's a bit strange that Philly cut running back Donnell Pumphrey. Sure, the Eagles are deep at RB, but Pumphrey had some value as a former 4thRound pick. Maybe, Philadelphia tried to trade Pumphrey for a 7thRound pick but failed. That’s hard to believe because Pumphrey had looked great in training camp.
Dallas Cowboys – Dallas never wanted to miss another field goal. To ensure they never would, owner Jerry Jones signed kicker Dan Bailey to a huge contract in 2014 that paid Bailey a $4 million signing bonus. Bailey made $3.2 million last season and began to feel like a part of the Dallas institution, routinely touted as one of the most accurate kickers of all time. His production descended in to the abyss last season which is why on the surface this is one of the surprising NFC roster cuts, but generally makes a lot of sense. He wasn't going to be worth the $3.4 million owed given how horrible his percentages were last season.
NFC NORTH The Bears sent away their future for the present.
Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings might have made a face-saving move by cutting wide receiver Kendall Wright while keeping wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. Minnesota had signed Wright this past March. He never got a chance in Tennessee because former Titans’ coach Mike Mularkey played smash mouth football. Last season as a Chicago Bear, Wright played with rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky. He caught 59 passes for 614 yards. Nobody can claim Wright’s stats are great, but they tower over Treadwell’s. Minnesota’s 2016 Round 1 pick has 20 catches for 200 yards. Cutting Wright and keeping Treadwell doesn’t make sense, especially at the price they had him.
Green Bay Packers – Green Bay’s biggest roster move isn’t about who they cut, it’s about who they kept. The Packers start the regular season with eight wide receivers on the roster: Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Randall Cobb, Trevor Davis, Jake Kumerow, J’Mon Moore, Equanimious St. Brown, and Marquez Valdez-Scantling. During the offseason, Mike McCarthy said he wanted to rush the football like the New Orleans Saints. Sure, Mike, sure…
Chicago Bears – The Bears traded for the most fearsome defensive player in the NFL, edge rusher Khalil Mack. It only cost the Bears a couple of Round 1 picks, a second round pick and a sixth rounder. They got a second round pick in return. Mack’s worth three Round 1 picks. Trading away future draft picks doesn't technically count as a roster cut, but the most is still a shocker and deserves to be on this list.
Detroit Lions – The Lions didn’t cut running back Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah’s best season was his rookie campaign when he averaged 4.2 yards per carry. In 2016, he only played 2 games while last season he averaged 3.3 yards per carry in 14 games. The Lions also kept 4 tight-ends. They only kept 4 defensive ends and 3 defensive tackles. They could have saved a couple of roster spots by going to 3 tight-ends and cutting Abdullah.
New Orleans Saints – The Saints were one of the only teams not to make any surprising NFC roster cuts this off-season. If anything, acquiring Teddy Bridgewater is a bit of a stunner but that's it. Payton has his boys and he's ready to go.
Carolina Panthers – I thought the days of Babe Laufenberg type players as your backup quarterback were over? The Panthers cut one of the most reliable backups in the NFL, Derek Anderson, to go with former Texas and SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert and former Houston Texans’ backup Taylor Heinicke.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – None of the roster moves the Tampa Bay Bucs made would register amongst surprising NFC roster cuts, but the dismissal of Keith Tandy seems unceremonious given his contributions these past two seasons. The Bucs kept undrafted rookie running back Shaun Wilson because Round 2 pick Ronald Jones II has struggled. Jones II might already be a bust. Running backs often produce their rookie season. When they don’t make big impacts as rookies, they almost never pan out. If Jones II doesn’t show the Bucs something in the next few weeks, they should trade him for as high of a pick as they can get. Either that or see if blossoms on special teams. Tampa's generally hamstrung by the Jameis Winston debacle,
Atlanta Falcons – Atlanta cut safety Ron Parker. While with the Kansas City Chiefs, Parker had started 63 games the past 4 seasons. Parker landed on his feet. The Chiefs grabbed him after the Falcons released him.
NFC WEST This group was less about surprising NFC roster cuts and more about intriguing keepers that didn't get moved.
Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals kept quarterback Mike Glennon even though they drafted Josh Rosen in Round 1 and signed Sam Bradford. The move tells us how much faith Arizona has in the injury-prone Bradford.
L.A. Rams – The Rams decided to keep three running backs behind Todd Gurley. L.A. might want to keep Gurley fresh into the postseason. Smart because in 3 seasons, Gurley’s carried the football 786 times. Plus, he had a brutal second season as former coach Jeff Fisher’s workhorse back.
San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers acquired offensive tackle Shon Coleman from the Cleveland Browns. In April, San Francisco traded starting right tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots for the 95thpick in the draft. Coleman started for the Browns at right tackle in all 16 games. Acquiring Brown shores up the offensive line.
Seattle Seahawks – Seattle didn’t trade their best defensive player, safety Earl Thomas. Thomas remains a holdout. Eventually, Thomas will report because he loses $500,000 every week until he does report. Once he reports, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks will look for a trading partner. I think. Nobody really knows what's going on here.