I think most people would agree that it was a terrible loss for the Packers on Sunday as they lost to the Arizona Cardinals 20-17. That game ended up being the last straw for Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and deservedly so as the Packers fell to 4-7-1 on the season. However, the decision that was made to fire Mike McCarthy was poor timing and somewhat disrespectful for a coach that has done so much for the franchise. There is no doubt that McCarthy deserved to be fired because his team has severely underachieved since the beginning of the 2017 season. That being said, he doesn’t deserve all of the blame for the failures of the Packers this season. The Packers have had to deal with numerous injuries especially on defense and the roster has been poorly constructed on both sides of the ball. McCarthy deserves some share of the blame, but the general manager and the players deserve a lot of blame as well. I don’t disagree with the decision to fire McCarthy right now because it really has no benefit at all. The team should have waited until the end of the season to fire him because firing him during the season is just disrespectful considering how much he has accomplished. McCarthy deserved to finish the season especially since he gives the team the best chance to win right now. Most coaching candidates won’t be available until after the season, so there is really no benefit of firing a coach at this point in the season. Firing McCarthy has just created even more dysfunction in the Packers organization and they should’ve let McCarthy finish the season. Overall, McCarthy did a very good job with the Packers as he led the team to the playoffs 9 times in his nearly 13 seasons as the head coach. McCarthy will certainly get another coaching job very soon and it is just unfortunate that the Packers made such an impulsive decision to fire him just a few games before the end of the season.
The Arizona Cardinals are actually in the beginning stages of what could be a long rebuild and there is lots of more work to do. The good news is that they just drafted Josh Rosen this year to be their quarterback of the future. He has struggled as a starter in his rookie season, but that is mostly due to the lack of talent around him. The Cardinals need to focus on building around Rosen on offense. Sure, they have star running back David Johnson who will likely be with the team for several years. However, the Cardinals need to find a replacement for the aging Larry Fitzgerald and they need to add to their offensive line as well. Arizona has some good pieces on defense led by Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones, but they need to add some more talent around those guys. The pieces are in place for Arizona to compete in a couple of years, but they need to focus on drafting well and helping out their young quarterback.
Baltimore’s rebuilding hasn’t officially begun, but it is definitely coming very soon. General Manager Ozzie Newsome is already scheduled to retire after this season and head coach John Harbaugh could be on his way out as well if he doesn’t turn things around in 2018. Meanwhile, the team has already drafted Joe Flacco’s replacement at quarterback with Lamar Jackson and it is only a matter of time before Jackson takes over as the starter. The Ravens have talent on defense, but this could be the final year for Terrell Suggs in Baltimore and C.J. Mosley could depart in free agency as well. Baltimore has the talent to make a playoff run this season, but if they don’t make the playoffs then big changes could be made within the Ravens organization.
Buffalo might be the least talented team in the entire NFL and they are just beginning what could be a somewhat lengthy rebuild. The good news is that they drafted their quarterback of the future with Josh Allen this year, but nobody really knows if he will live up to the hype. Allen has struggled in his rookie season, but a lot of that can be attributed to the lack of talent around him. Running back LeSean McCoy is about the only weapon that the Bills have on offense and this could be his final season in Buffalo. The Bills offensive line needs some more help and the Bills wide receiver group needs to be rebuilt completely. Meanwhile, on defense, the Bills have some good young talent, but they need to find a way to replace Kyle Williams and Lorenzo Alexander who will likely leave in free agency. Buffalo has a good foundation with Josh Allen, but they really need some more talent around him in order to be successful.
The addition of Amari Cooper keeps the Cowboys as a competitive team in 2018 and it is a team that has tons of talent especially on offense. However, they need to figure out if Dak Prescott is truly the quarterback of the future and they also need to figure out how to fix their offensive line. Meanwhile, on defense, DeMarcus Lawrence is the clear leader, but he might leave in free agency after the season. Dallas needs to find a way to add some more young talent to their defense and probably replace the aging linebacker Sean Lee as well. The Cowboys could still be a playoff contender, although big changes could be coming if that doesn’t happen.
Denver has been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season. They thought that by bringing in quarterback Case Keenum they would be a playoff contender. However, Keenum has struggled with consistency this season and now the Broncos have to decide if they will keep him as their starter for next season. The Broncos have some really good young talent at the skill positions with Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman, and Phillip Lindsay. However, they need to add a couple of more pieces to their offensive line to help out their quarterback and let their skill players be more successful. Meanwhile, on defense the Broncos have tremendous talent especially in the Front 7 with Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, and Shane Ray leading the way. The secondary also has some talent especially at cornerback with Chris Harris and Bradley Roby. Denver has had a really frustrating year and it could lead to big changes as head coach Vance Joseph is likely to get fired. Also, the Broncos will need to look into finding a new quarterback and possibly replacing key free agents like Matt Paradis, Shane Ray, and Bradley Roby. Overall, the Broncos are a team that has great talent on both sides of the ball, but they mainly just need to make big changes by find a new head coach and quarterback.
Detroit’s passing game is very good despite trading away Golden Tate this season and they finally found a good running back with Kerryon Johnson. The offense isn’t concerning, but the defense is what really needs to be rebuilt. They have some talented players to build around with Darius Slay, Jarrad Davis, and Ezekiel Ansah. However, the rest of the defense needs some serious help and the defense could get even worse next season if Ansah departs in free agency. The Lions have the offense to compete right now, but the team won’t be competitive until they improve their defense.
Indianapolis has their franchise quarterback with Andrew Luck, but they are a team that has struggled to build a competent team around him. The Colts could use some help at wide receiver, but besides that their offense is pretty good. However, the defense is what needs some serious help. They have some good young players on defense with guys like Malik Hooker and Darius Leonard. However, they still need to improve their secondary and pass rush if they want to become a good defense. The Colts are near the end of their rebuilding process and if they add some key players to their defense then they could be really competitive next season.
Jacksonville has easily been the most disappointing NFL team after coming very close to reaching the Super Bowl last season. Quarterback Blake Bortles is the main source of the problems for the Jaguars as he turns the ball over too often and he’ll likely need to be replaced prior to the 2019 season. However, the problems on offense aren’t entirely his fault as he just doesn’t have a good wide receiver group even if Marqise Lee comes back healthy next season. The offensive line and running game are terrific for Jacksonville, but it won’t matter if the Jaguars can’t fix their poor quarterback situation. Meanwhile, the Jaguars defense has surprisingly struggled this season after being arguably the best defense in the NFL last season. There is no doubting the talent that they have with guys like Jalen Ramsey, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and A.J. Bouye among others. That being said, for some reason they just haven’t been able to put it together and dominate like they did last season. Jacksonville has plenty of talent to be successful in 2019, but first they badly need to rebuild their passing game on offense.
Miami is surprisingly having a decent season considering the lack of talent that they have. However, this team is still in a major transition phase as they need many pieces on both sides of the ball. It all starts with quarterback Ryan Tannehill who has struggled to stay healthy and they need to find out if he is their quarterback of the future. The Dolphins could decide to move on prior to 2019, but that would set the rebuilding process back even further. The Dolphins have some talent at running back with Kenyan Drake and at wide receiver with guys like Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Albert Wilson. However, they need to add some better weapons to their offense in order for it to reach their full potential. Meanwhile, the Dolphins defense appears good enough to compete with a lot of teams as they have some good veteran players like Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn. However, they also have some really talented young players like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Raekwon McMillan. The Dolphins have enough talent to possibly be a playoff team, but big changes could be coming to their offense and their coaching staff if this season doesn’t end well.
New York Giants
The Giants made the mistake of believing that they could be contenders this season even with Eli Manning at quarterback. The Giants have plenty of talent at the skill positions led by star receiver Odell Beckham and star running back Saquon Barkley. However, the offensive line has been disastrous and Manning hasn’t played well either. New York needs to find a new quarterback and add some quality offensive lineman before the offense can succeed. Meanwhile, the Giants defense is already in rebuild mode after they traded away Eli Apple and Damon Harrison this season. They still have some good talent with Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins leading the way. However, they need to add some pass rush help especially if the defense is to get any better. Either way, the Giants have some hope for the future, but they are still a couple years from competing as they need to make big changes on both sides of the ball.
New York Jets
The New York Jets are a team with some hope for the future after they drafted Sam Darnold in the 1st round of the draft this year. He has struggled this season, but that is mostly due to the lack of weapons that the Jets have on offense. The Jets have a good running back duo with Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell. However, they need to find some better wide receivers to help Darnold out and a better offensive line as well. The Jets defense has plenty of talent especially at linebacker and in the secondary. However, they need to add some more pass rush help to improve the defense. New York has a solid foundation of good young players on both sides of the ball, but they need to add some more talent especially to the offense in order for it to be successful.
The bad news for the Raiders is that they have basically no talent on their roster, but the good news is that they have a whopping five 1st round picks in the next two years in order to try and accelerate their rebuild. The main thing that they need to figure out is whether Derek Carr should continue being their starting quarterback. He looked like an elite quarterback just a few years ago, but the last two years he has been just average at best. At least the running back position has been good for the Raiders this season with Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, and Jalen Richard. However, it is very possible that both Lynch and Martin could be gone next season. Tight end Jared Cook has been about the only threat for the Raiders in the passing game especially after they traded away Amari Cooper. The Raiders need to address the wide receiver position in a serious way in order to make their offense better. Meanwhile, the defense is absolutely terrible especially after they traded away Khalil Mack and released Bruce Irvin. The Raiders pretty much have nothing to build around on defense and it is something that they need to build from scratch. The Raiders need a lot of help on offense and defense, so it could be a very lengthy rebuild for the Raiders. However, it could be sped up if they hit on their five draft picks in the next 2 years.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers thought that they would be a playoff contender this season, but the early season injuries to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon really doomed them. However, running back Matt Breida and tight end George Kittle have been a couple of bright spots that the 49ers can build around on offense. San Francisco still needs some help at wide receiver and along the offensive line as well, but those are things that they can improve early in the draft. The 49ers defense has some good young pieces to build around especially on the defensive line with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead. However, they need lots of help at linebacker and in the secondary before the defense is rebuilt again. Overall, having Garoppolo back next season will help the 49ers a lot, but they still have to rebuild their overall roster before they are competitive again.
Seattle began a full-scale rebuild prior to this season and give credit to head coach Pete Carroll for keeping the team competitive. However, the team still has a long ways to go with their rebuild especially on defense. Bobby Wagner, Frank Clark, and Jarran Reed are tremendous players to build around. The rest of the defense needs a lot of work though especially if star safety Earl Thomas leaves in free agency as expected. Meanwhile, the offense for the Seahawks is actually pretty good as they have a good running game with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. Also, they have a couple of good receivers with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. The Seahawks could still improve the offensive line, but their offense is better than most people expected. If Seattle can add a few pieces to their defense soon then they could be a competitive team much sooner than expected.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is a team in desperate need of a full-scale rebuild mostly because they haven’t drafted well and they haven’t done well in free agency either. The main issue for the Bucs is at the quarterback position as Jameis Winston continues to make dumb decisions on and off the field. The Buccaneers appear ready to move on from him this offseason and that means they’ll likely have to draft another quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played well, but he is nothing more than a short-term solution. The strength for the Buccaneers is definitely at the wide receiver and tight end positions as they are extremely deep at both positions. However, the Buccaneers running game is still awful as 2nd round pick Ronald Jones has been a major bust so far. Also, the offensive line hasn’t performed well at all this season and that is something they’ll need to address this offseason. Meanwhile, the Bucs defense has been absolutely terrible as they’ve relied on rookies Jordan Whitehead, Carlton Davis, and M.J. Stewart to make an impact right away. However, they have struggled tremendously and veteran cornerback Brent Grimes hasn’t played well either. The Buccaneers invested a lot in their defensive line this past offseason and they have yet to see results due to injuries and inconsistent play. Gerald McCoy, Vita Vea, Noah Spence, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, and William Gholston all have struggled to make an impact this season. Jason Pierre-Paul has been a terrific addition and Kwon Alexander was terrific before tearing his ACL, but besides that the Buccaneers defense has been awful. Tampa Bay has a lot to figure out on both sides of the ball because of terrible decisions made by general manager Jason Licht. He appears to be on his way out after this season and the entire coaching staff including head coach Dirk Koetter appears to be on its way out as well. The Buccaneers will be a very different team next season and they are just beginning what could be another lengthy rebuild.
Denver Broncos – Current Quarterback: Case Keenum
Case Keenum has had one good season as an NFL quarterback and that was last season in Minnesota. However, it is difficult to hide the fact that he has been a backup quarterback for most of his career. Keenum is nothing more than a short-term solution at quarterback for the Broncos and he has been really inconsistent this year. The Broncos might bring him back for the 2019 season to serve as a temporary starter. However, the Broncos need to draft a quarterback that they can develop for the future. it might be best if the Broncos tank the rest of the season because they should then be able to draft either Justin Herbert or Drew Lock early in the 1st round. The Broncos likely won’t find a better option in free agency and it is best that they stick with Keenum until they can draft a quarterback.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Current Quarterback: Blake Bortles
Blake Bortles has tremendous potential and he showcased it in 2015, but since that point he just hasn’t been the same playmaker that he was. Some of the blame can be placed on a poor receiving group that he has played with in the past couple of seasons. However, there is no excuse for the amount of times that he has turned the ball over. Bortles isn’t the only problem this season for the Jaguars, but he is probably the main issue that is holding Jacksonville from being contenders. The Jaguars likely won’t find anything better in free agency as Teddy Bridgewater, Tyrod Taylor, Jameis Winston, Ryan Tennehill, and Ryan Fitzpatrick are likely to be the best options. The draft offers more hope to find a quarterback, but that is also considered a rather weak quarterback group. Maybe the Jaguars get a good enough draft pick so that they could get Justin Herbert or Drew Lock. However, they might just have to settle for Daniel Jones or Will Grier later on in the 1st round. Either way, the Jaguars need to move on from Bortles in 2019 because he is hurting the team more than he is helping them.
Miami Dolphins – Current Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill hasn’t been a terrible quarterback for the Dolphins, but he also hasn’t proven that he is the long-term answer for Miami. Tannehill is often injured and even when he is healthy he is very inconsistent. He has high potential to be a good NFL quarterback, but he also has the potential to be a bad quarterback at times. The Dolphins need to figure out this season if Tannehill gives them a good chance to win games. If he doesn’t then the Dolphins will likely let him leave in free agency and try to find a solution for the 2019 season. The bad news though is that the Dolphins likely won’t have a high enough pick to draft Justin Herbert or Drew Lock unless they trade up. That means they would likely take a chance on either Daniel Jones of Duke or Will Grier of West Virginia later on in the draft.
New York Giants – Current Quarterback: Eli Manning
Eli Manning is a quarterback that is way past his prime and he was always an overrated quarterback to begin with. Manning has plenty of weapons on offense with Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, and Evan Engram to throw to. However, he still hasn’t been able to help make the Giants passing game successful. Manning shouldn’t be a starting quarterback at this point in his career and the Giants definitely need to move on. Kyle Lauletta likely isn’t the long-term solution either, so the Giants need to draft a quarterback prior to the 2019 season. The good news is that the Giants are very likely to have a low draft pick in 2019, but the issue is that the best quarterbacks in the draft class like Justin Herbert and Drew Lock aren’t exactly elite prospects. Manning has a huge contract and he is still a liability for the Giants, so it is time to move on from him as soon as possible.
Oakland Raiders – Current Quarterback: Derek Carr
Just a couple of years ago, Derek Carr looked like he would become an elite NFL quarterback and he was rewarded with a massive contract extension. However, now Carr has looked like an average starting quarterback at best for the Raiders as they are arguably the worst team in the NFL right now. Carr’s performance hasn’t justified his large salary, so it might be time for the Raiders just to move on after this season. If they want to move on then now would be the time to do it because they have three 1st round picks in the 2019 draft. Sure, it isn’t a good draft class for quarterbacks, but they could clear a lot of cap space by releasing Carr while also hopefully finding their quarterback of the future. The Raiders could decide to stick with Carr for awhile, but they need to figure out this season whether he is truly their quarterback of the future.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Current Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick
The Buccaneers probably have the most intriguing quarterback situation in the entire NFL heading into 2019. Jameis Winston has been the starting quarterback since being drafted 1st overall in the 2015 draft. There is no doubting Winston’s tremendous potential and he has certainly shown flashes of it. However, Winston’s main problem is that he just makes silly mistakes on and off the field. Winston still has character concerns and he turns the ball over way too often as proven by his 10 interceptions in just 4 games played this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played much better than Winston this season, but we must remember that Fitzpatrick is 35 years old and he is only a bridge quarterback at best. Either way, the Buccaneers must decide whether they want to pay Winston $20 million for next season or just cut ties with him in the offseason. However, it appears that Winston’s time in Tampa Bay is coming to a close. The Buccaneers will likely keep Fitzpatrick around as a temporary solution, although don’t be surprised if they target Justin Herbert or Drew Lock in the draft.
The Cincinnati Bengals spoiled Andrew Luck’s return as they defeated the Colts 34-23 on Sunday. Here are the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s game.
Biggest Takeaways for the Bengals:
The main takeaway for the Bengals is that their offense looked very balanced especially with starting running back Joe Mixon leading the way. Mixon was impressive as he led the Bengals with 95 yards and a rushing touchdown. He also added another 54 receiving yards which was kind of surprising to see him play that kind of a role. However, Mixon proved that he is ready to be the lead back for Cincinnati and he gives the team a much-needed threat on offense. Another takeaway from this game for the Bengals is the solid -performance from quarterback Andy Dalton. Sure, the Colts defense isn’t exactly good, but it was still encouraging for Dalton to play well in the season opener. He did make one mistake by throwing an interception, but he overall played at a very high level. If Dalton can play like this and Mixon can add some balance in the running game then Cincinnati could have a very good offense. The Bengals still have some work to do, but it was encouraging to see the offense get off to a good start to the season.
Biggest Takeaways for the Colts:
The main takeaway for the Colts is that they will basically rely upon quarterback Andrew Luck to do everything. Luck certainly had to carry the offense against the Bengals as he had a whopping 53 pass attempts. Luck showed what made him an elite quarterback a few years ago as he had 319 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, he also showed a little bit of rust as he had an interception and he didn’t look very sharp at times. Either way, the rest of the offense didn’t help him out much especially the running backs who only combined for 75 yards. The running game should be better if Marlon Mack returns from injury soon, but Andrew Luck is going have to do a lot this season if the Colts want to remain competitive. Meanwhile, another takeaway was the performance of the Colts defense. The Colts defense actually had a couple of bright spots as they forced a couple of turnovers and defensive end Margus Hunt had a couple of sacks. However, the Colts defense still struggled against a decent Bengals offense and it didn’t inspire much confidence that Indianapolis could improve on defense. The Colts showed that they still have a long way to go on defense, yet it was at least a little encouraging that they made a few big plays. Overall, Andrew Luck’s return didn’t go as planned, but it wasn’t exactly his fault. The rest of the Colts roster needs to play much better if they want to have a chance to win games.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off the biggest upset of the week as they stunned the Saints by defeating them 48-40. Here are the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s game.
Biggest Takeaways for the Buccaneers:
The biggest takeaway for the Buccaneers is that they should be just fine while starting quarterback Jameis Winston is suspended. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick came in and played at an elite level while throwing for a career-high 417 yards and 5 total touchdowns. Fitzpatrick showed that he is more than capable of winning games and playing at a high level. However, he also showed that he might actually be a better option as a starting quarterback for the Buccaneers than Winston. It helped that Fitzpatrick had a terrific supporting cast around him, but if he keeps playing this well then the Buccaneers could be better than expected. Meanwhile, another takeaway is that the Buccaneers once again struggled on defense. The Buccaneers secondary got lit up by Drew Brees and they proved that they are still just as bad as they were last season when they finished last against the pass. Injuries to Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves didn’t help at all, but the Bucs still need to improve in that area. Tampa Bay’s defense made plays when they had to, but they were very lucky that the offense played so well. Overall, the Buccaneers proved that they are a better team than many people expected, although they still have tons of work to do on defense.
Biggest Takeaways for the Saints:
The main concern for the Saints is clearly their defense which got absolutely torched by the Buccaneers. New Orleans allowed 529 total yards to Tampa Bay and the Saints didn’t even have a sack or cause a turnover. New Orleans had an improved defense last season and that was a big reason for their success, but it took a major step back in this game. Their best cornerback Marshon Lattimore struggled all game despite playing very well in his rookie year last season. Also, star defensive end Cameron Jordan didn’t make any impact and the Saints pass rush was absolutely nonexistent. There was no bright spot for the Saints on defense and hopefully they will learn from this miserable performance. Meanwhile, there certainly weren’t too many issues for the Saints on offense and quarterback Drew Brees showed that age is just a number. Brees had an outstanding game as he torched the Bucs defense for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Saints did fumble the ball a couple of times, but that surely isn’t Brees’ fault. Brees showed that his performance won’t be declining anytime soon, although it is a shame that the Saints lost despite Brees’ tremendous play. Overall, the Saints offense showed that they will be just fine despite making a couple of costly mistakes. However, the Saints won’t reach their full potential until the Saints defense at least puts forward an average performance.
The Minnesota Vikings showed that they might just be Super Bowl contenders this season as they defeated the 49ers rather easily 24-16. Here are the biggest takeaways for both teams from Sunday’s game.
Biggest Takeaways for the 49ers:
The main concern for the 49ers is how poorly starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played in the season opener. Sure, Garoppolo was impressive in his 5 starts last season and he was given a massive contract this offseason. However, Garoppolo played terribly against the Vikings on Sunday. He struggled with accuracy and he made several costly mistakes as he threw 3 interceptions. The Vikings defense is really good, so this could just be a rare bad game for Garoppolo. That being said, it is extremely concerning for Garoppolo to play so poorly especially considering how much hype he has received. Meanwhile, the other major concern for the 49ers is that they just couldn’t get anything going at the running back position. Matt Breida and Alfred Morris pretty much split the carries evenly, although neither really had a good game. Breida led the team with 46 yards, but he wasn’t very impressive. Meanwhile, Alfred Morris was much worse as he only had 3.2 yards per carry and he a costly fumble near the endzone. The 49ers had severe issues on offense and it wasn’t just the running game, but their running backs need to be much better to take the pressure off of Garoppolo. Overall, the 49ers proved that they have a lot of work to do on offense before they can compete with outstanding teams like the Vikings.
Biggest Takeaways for the Vikings:
The biggest takeaway for the Vikings is that they proved how good their defense still is this season. They made 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo look below average while forcing 5 turnovers. Minnesota really has no weakness on their defense and they proved that they can be successful against any NFL offense. Meanwhile, the other main takeaway is that new starting quarterback Kirk Cousins looked very impressive in his debut with the team. Cousins didn’t make any costly mistakes which was important and he threw a couple of touchdowns to carry the offense as well. Overall, if the Vikings defense plays this well and Cousins play effectively as well then the Vikings will be really difficult to beat.
Arizona Cardinals – Brice Butler – Wide Receiver
The Cardinals didn’t make any really surprising cuts prior to the 2018 season, but the one that sticks out the most is receiver Brice Butler. He has been productive as a receiver most notably with the Cowboys the past few seasons. Butler wasn’t expected to be the number two receiver for the Cardinals, but he could have provided some much needed depth as a 3rd or 4th receiver. Arizona is rather unproven at wide receiver besides Larry Fitzgerald which is why it was so surprising that they decided to let go of a quality veteran receiver like Butler. He could have at least provided better depth at receiver, but he shouldn’t be on the free agent market for too long.
Atlanta Falcons – Ron Parker – Safety
Ron Parker might be the most notable player to be cut by an NFL team just prior to the 2018 season. Parker wasn’t really expected to be a starter for the Falcons, but he has proven that he can provide terrific depth at the safety position. In fact, Parker showed his value the past few seasons with the Chiefs as he was a starter on a good defense for the past 4 seasons. Parker has already been picked up again by Kansas City, but he could have definitely provided the Falcons with a reliable backup safety.
Baltimore Ravens – Breshad Perriman – Wide Receiver
Breshad Perriman is a very talented receiver and that is why the Ravens selected him in the 1st round of the 2015 draft. However, injuries and inconsistent play really held him back from reaching his full potential with the Ravens. It shouldn’t be too shocking that he was released considering the Ravens added a ton of wide receivers to their roster this offseason. However, Baltimore could have given him another opportunity as a 3rd or 4th receiver. Either way, it is a disappointing end to Perriman’s tenure in Baltimore that didn’t live up to the hype. However, he shouldn’t be on the free agent market for long as there should be some team that takes a chance on the young receiver with some potential still.
Buffalo Bills – Corey Coleman – Wide Receiver
Corey Coleman is yet another former 1st round wide receiver that has yet to prove his value. Coleman struggled tremendously with injuries and inconsistency during his two years in Cleveland and they surprisingly ended up just trading him away to Buffalo this offseason. However, Coleman didn’t last long with the Bills as he was cut just after the end of the preseason. It is especially surprising that he was released considering how thin the Bills are at the wide receiver position. Also, it is surprising that they let him go this soon especially considering that the team gave up a draft pick to do so. Coleman should find a role as a 3rd or 4th receiver on another team since he is still really young with lots of potential. However, if he couldn’t succeed with the Bills then it is hard to envision him finding much success elsewhere.
Carolina Panthers – Daeshon Hall – Defensive End
The Panthers hoped that by drafting Daeshon Hall in the 3rd round last year that he would provide some much needed depth to the pass rush. However, Hall only played in one game last year before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury. He returned from the knee injury and he wasn’t very impressive this preseason for the Panthers. That being said, it is weird to see Carolina give up on such a high draft pick after only one season. Hall still has tons of potential and he should be picked up as a developmental project by another team, but it is disappointing to see his time in Carolina end before it really even started.
Chicago Bears – Doran Grant – Cornerback
Doran Grant had a very strong preseason for the Bears and it was thought that he was likely to make the 53-man roster. However, that didn’t end up being the case as it was a somewhat surprising move for him to be released. Cornerback Marcus Cooper really struggled in the preseason and it was thought that he might be cut, but instead it was Grant who was the odd man out. Grant still should be picked up by a team that needs depth at cornerback and his strong preseason performance only helps his cause.
Cincinnati Bengals – Michael Johnson – Defensive End
This might be the most notable player that was released on cut day, but it shouldn’t be very surprising. The reason this move didn’t come as much of a surprise as he has under performed in comparison to his contract and this moves saves the Bengals about $5 million. Also, Johnson’s release allows for some of the Bengals promising young pass rushers like Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson to get more playing time. Johnson could re-sign with the Bengals if he takes a pay cut, but he is still a player that can help other teams that need a good pass rusher.
Cleveland Browns – Nate Orchard – Defensive End
Add defensive end Nate Orchard to a long list of high draft picks for the Browns that have been busts. Orchard was a 2nd round pick in the 2015 draft and he was never really able to establish himself as a full-time starter with Cleveland. Orchard had been a backup defensive end for the Browns and he never really proved himself as he only had 5 sacks during 3 seasons with Cleveland. Some team will likely pick up Orchard as he can provide some solid depth at defensive end, but it was still a disappointing tenure for him with Cleveland.
Dallas Cowboys – Dan Bailey – Kicker
This move was arguably the most stunning move of the entire cut day as Dan Bailey seemed sure to be the starting kicker for the Cowboys in week one. Brett Maher didn’t seem like much competition since he was a 28-year old that had never even attempted a field goal in an NFL regular season game. Bailey was considered one of the best kickers in the NFL for several seasons with Dallas and that was why they gave him a 7-year deal back in 2018. However, injuries really held him back last season and he had the worst season in the NFL as he only made 15/20 field goals. This decision is purely based off of money as Bailey was going to make $3.4 million this year and Maher is playing on an extremely inexpensive contract. Bailey is still a very good kicker, so don’t expect him to be unemployed for too long. However, it is still surprising that the Cowboys would release arguably the best kicker in franchise history.
Denver Broncos – Paxton Lynch – Quarterback
Paxton Lynch never really got the chance to be the full-time starter in Denver as he couldn’t even beat out Trevor Siemian for the starting job the past 2 years. Lynch started this offseason as the clear backup to new quarterback Case Keenum. However, Lynch’s awful preseason performances cost him the number two quarterback role as Chad Kelly played extremely well and jumped Lynch on the depth chart. After Kelly was officially named the backup quarterback it made it very clear that Lynch would probably not make the opening-day roster. There is a lot to like about Lynch as he has a good arm and terrific athletic ability for a quarterback. That was why the Broncos selected him in the 1st round of the 2016 draft, but he struggled in the limited opportunities that he had as the starting quarterback. Lynch didn’t have a good tenure with the Broncos, but being released should benefit as he should be able to get a fresh start as a backup quarterback elsewhere.
Detroit Lions – DeShawn Shead – Cornerback
Detroit signed veteran cornerback DeShawn Shead in hopes that he would compete for the 3rd cornerback role. However, Shead didn’t perform well mostly due to injury and now it turns out that he won’t be making the roster at all. The Lions are going with rookie Teez Tabor in the 3rd cornerback role, but it is kind of surprising that they didn’t keep Shead around for some veteran cornerback depth. Either way, the Lions gave Shead some decent guaranteed money this offseason and now he won’t even play in a regular season game for the team.
Green Bay Packers – Aaron Ripkowski – Fullback
The Packers didn’t really make any notable roster moves, but Aaron Ripkowski was probably the most well-known name to go. Ripkowski established himself as the Packers starting fullback the past few seasons, but he wasn’t used too often. There just wasn’t much of a role for Ripkowski in the backfield with Green Bay especially with the team not using a fullback too often anymore. Ripkowski might struggle to find a new team considering not many teams use fullbacks consistently, but he was a reliable player for the Packers the past few years.
Houston Texans – Braxton Miller – Wide Receiver
This was one of the most surprising moves on cut day mostly because the Texans lack depth at the wide receiver position. Miller was supposed to be a dynamic play maker when the Texans drafted him in the 3rd round in the 2016 draft. However, Miller failed to establish himself as Houston’s 3rd receiver as he only had 34 catches in two seasons. Miller has struggled with injuries and it was clearly a tough transition for him to go from playing quarterback in college to being a starting NFL wide receiver. Miller still has tons of potential and it shouldn’t take long for him to find a new team, but it was disappointing that he never lived up to the hype with Houston.
Indianapolis Colts – John Simon – Defensive End
John Simon was one of the very few veteran players on an extremely weak and inexperienced Colts defense. That is part of the reason that the Colts surprisingly decided to part ways with the defensive end on cut day. Simon has struggled with injuries and he was one of the Colts best pass rushers last season as he had 3 sacks. He isn’t a very good starter at defensive end, but he was still arguably the best defensive end that the team had right now. What makes this move even more surprising is that Simon had a terrific preseason as a starter and now he is just off the roster. Simon wasn’t the best option as a starter in the 1st place, but the problem is that the Colts don’t really have much to replace him. Simon should provide good pass rush depth for another team, but it was silly for Indianapolis to release him considering their troubles on defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Sealver Siliga – Defensive Tackle
None of the moves that the Jaguars made are surprising at all and the release of Sealver Siliga was foreseen as well. However, Siliga is a veteran defensive tackle that has provided solid depth at that position for several different teams. He shouldn’t be a starter like he was with the Patriots a few years ago, although he could have helped provide some depth for the Jaguars defensive line. The Jaguars are deep on the defensive line which is why Siliga likely didn’t make the team, but it is notable that he couldn’t secure a final roster spot.
Kansas City Chiefs – David Amerson – Cornerback
David Amerson looked like a lock to make the Chiefs roster as the 3rd cornerback heading into training camp. However, that all changed when the Chiefs decided to add Orlando Scandrick during the preseason. Also, Amerson struggled during the 3 preseason games that he appeared in and that didn’t help his cause at all. Amerson was once a decent starter with the Redskins and Raiders, but his career has progressively continued to go downhill. Amerson shouldn’t be counted on as a starter anymore, but he can still be a decent 4th cornerback for a team in need of some depth.
Los Angeles Chargers – Roberto Aguayo – Kicker
The Chargers had an intense competition at the kicker position between veteran Caleb Sturgis and former 2nd round pick Roberto Aguayo. However, Sturgis proved to the Chargers throughout the preseason that he was the more reliable kicker. Aguayo clearly has more potential, but he just has yet to put it together in the NFL after having an outstanding college career. Aguayo has now been with 3 teams since being drafted in the 2nd round a couple of years ago and it appears that his time to land a regular season role is dwindling. Aguayo hopefully can find some consistency and turn his NFL career around, but it isn’t a good sign that he couldn’t win the Chargers kicking job.
Los Angeles Rams – Temarrick Hemingway – Tight End
There were absolutely no surprises for the Rams on cut day as there weren’t really any notable cuts. However, one that caught my eye is tight end Temarrick Hemingway who was battling for the 3rd tight end role on the Rams roster. Hemingway missed all of last season due to injury and he didn’t perform well at all during the preseason. That was apparently enough for the Rams to part ways despite not having too much talent at the tight end position to begin with.
Miami Dolphins – Tony Lippett – Cornerback
It wasn’t too long ago that Tony Lippett was a starting cornerback for the Dolphins as he had 4 interceptions during the 2016 season. He was expected to be a starter once again last season until suffering a season-ending Achilles injury. Lippett came back this offseason, but he never really looked the same after the injury. Also, Lippett clearly fell down the depth chart and the team just decided to part ways. It is really surprising that Miami decided to let Lippett go considering their lack of depth at cornerback, but he will surely find another job relatively soon.
Minnesota Vikings – Brian Robison – Defensive End
The Vikings made several stunning moves on cut day, but perhaps nothing was more stunning than the release of longtime Viking defensive end Brian Robison. Just a few years ago Robison was one of the most underrated defensive ends in the entire NFL. However, his play had dropped off last season as he only had 4 sacks for Minnesota and he is likely slowing down considering that he is 35 years old. That being said, it is still very shocking that the team would release him especially since the Vikings didn’t save much money and he wasn’t going to be a starter anyway. Also, Robison has been with the Vikings his entire career since being drafted by the team in 2007 and it makes no sense that they wouldn’t keep him as a reliable backup. Another thing is that Minnesota didn’t have much depth behind Robison and they will be going with a couple of really inexperienced players as the new backup defensive ends. Overall, this is a poor decision by the Vikings especially since Robison still could have helped the team as a backup pass rusher. Either way, Robison should find another job soon, but it would be really disappointing to see him play for another team after having him play for the Vikings his entire career.
New England Patriots – Cyrus Jones – Cornerback
Jones was a rare draft bust for the Patriots as he was a 2nd round pick by the team just two years ago. However, Jones struggled to carve out a role in the secondary with the Patriots as he was basically relegated to full-time special teams role during his rookie year in 2016. Jones ended up missing last season due to injury and he wasn’t very impressive upon his return to the field this offseason. Jones could have possibly found a role in the Patriots secondary this season since it is likely weaker than last season. However, Jones just fell out of favor with the coaching staff and he never got the opportunity to be a starter. Jones still has tons of potential, so maybe he can make an impact elsewhere, but it is surprising to see him released so soon.
New Orleans Saints – Rick Leonard – Offensive Tackle
The Saints cut a few of their late-round draft picks from the 2018 draft, but one surprising release was rookie 4th round pick Rick Leonard. Sure, Leonard probably needs some more time to develop, but the Saints knew that when they drafted him. Leonard wasn’t expected to play right away, but releasing him so soon doesn’t make too much sense. However, Leonard did sign to the practice squad which is probably best as it allows him time to develop, but the Saints shouldn’t have drafted him that high if they didn’t think he would be ready to make the roster.
New York Giants – Darian Thompson – Safety
New York made an absolutely shocking move by releasing safety Darian Thompson who was started all 16 games last season. It is especially surprising to see him released so soon considering that he was a 3rd round pick just last season. That being said, the Giants now are very young and inexperienced at one of the safety positions. Thompson might have been released because he is dealing with a hamstring injury, but if he gets healthy soon then there should be plenty of teams interested in signing him.
New York Jets – Kevin Minter – Inside Linebacker
The Jets apparently feel comfortable about their depth at linebacker as they released veteran Kevin Minter on cut day. Minter struggled with injuries last season, but he is still a decent linebacker that could be a starting linebacker. Minter is probably just a good backup at this point, but he should generate plenty of interest in free agency from teams that need linebacker depth. It was surprising to see the Jets release Minter since he could have provided solid veteran leadership on a relatively young team, but he shouldn’t have a problem finding a job elsewhere.
Oakland Raiders – Martavis Bryant – Wide Receiver
Oakland made several hugely stunning moves on Saturday, but the one that sticks out the most is wide receiver Martavis Bryant. The reason this move is so stunning is because the Raiders traded a 3rd round pick to the Steelers to acquire him during the draft in April. Bryant was expected to play a big role in the Raiders offense as their 3rd receiver, but he was basically nonexistent for the Raiders during the preseason. Also, Bryant has some serious character concerns which made it strange that Oakland would give up so much to acquire him in the first place. Bryant is facing yet another suspension for drug-related issues and it is likely that he would be suspended for at least one season like he was in 2016. However, it appears that Bryant has self-destructed his own career and it is disappointing to see a player with such tremendous talent basically waste it. At this point it would actually be very surprising if any team takes a chance on Bryant ever again especially if he is officially suspended by the league soon. Bryant is a very talented receiver, but at this point his chances of returning to the NFL are basically nonexistent.
Philadelphia Eagles – Donnel Pumphrey – Running Back
The Eagles are giving up on last year’s 4th round pick Donnel Pumphrey already as the team released him just prior to the start of the 2018 season. Pumphrey had a remarkable college career at San Diego State where he became the all-team lead rusher in NCAA history. However, Pumphrey hasn’t adjusted well to the NFL level as he has struggled tremendously with injuries. Pumphrey missed all of last season due to injury and he missed most of the 2018 preseason as well. It is kind of surprising that the Eagles released him so soon especially since the team doesn’t have as much depth at running back this year. Overall, it was disappointing that Pumphrey never even got an opportunity to play in a regular season game for the Eagles, but he should find a job soon as he can provide quality running back depth for basically any team.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Landry Jones – Quarterback
It appears that the Steelers have decided on who their backup quarterback will be as they released veteran backup Landry Jones on cut day. Jones has seen action during the regular season each of the last 3 years, but he wasn’t very impressive when given an opportunity. Jones wasn’t a very good backup, but it will be interesting to see whether a team in need of a backup takes a chance on Jones. Meanwhile, Josh Dobbs looked like the odd man out for the Steelers at the quarterback position, although he will surprisingly stick around and be the new backup to Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh also has Mason Rudolph who was the team’s 3rd round pick this year, but the Steelers will likely just keep him as the 3rd quarterback for now while he develops. Landry Jones never really amount to anything in a backup and it was probably the right move for the Steelers to let him go considering the depth that they have at quarterback.
San Francisco 49ers – Jeremiah Attaochu – Defensive End
It has been a really disappointing NFL career for defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu who was a 2nd round pick of the Chargers back in 2014. He will have to find yet another new team as the 49ers released him after a short tenure with the franchise. This move makes sense for the 49ers though as Attaochu has struggled with injuries in recent years. Also, he wasn’t that impressive even when he was on the field for the 49ers this preseason. This move is somewhat surprising though because the 49ers lack good options with their pass rush right now and Attaochu has shown that he might be able to help a little bit in that area. He should find a job somewhere soon as a rotational pass rusher, but he just wasn’t a fit with the 49ers.
Seattle Seahawks – Maurice Alexander – Safety
This move is kind of surprising considering that the Seahawks are searching for some depth at the safety position with the contract holdout of star safety Earl Thomas. Alexander could have at least provided Seattle with a good backup safety while Thomas is out, but the Seahawks instead decided to add some young inexperienced safeties to their roster. Alexander certainly has proven his worth at the NFL level as he had 18 starts for the Rams during the past 2 seasons before he was released. Alexander might be able to be a backup on another team, yet it was a bad mistake for the Seahawks to release a guy that could have helped their team tremendously.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Keith Tandy – Safety
It wasn’t too long ago that Keith Tandy was a starting safety for the Buccaneers and he made some big plays that almost helped lead the Bucs to the playoffs in 2016. He lost his starting safety job last season, but he was still a quality backup that usually played well when called upon. This move is especially surprising considering Tampa Bay’s lack of depth at the safety position and he would probably be an upgrade over current starter Chris Conte. Tandy’s hamstring injury probably played a big factor in the decision to let Tandy go, but if he can get healthy then another team could be adding a very quality backup safety.
Tennessee Titans – Luke Falk – Quarterback
Luke Falk had a terrific college career at Washington State and it looked at one point that he might even be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Falk fell all the way to the Titans in the 6th round for some reason and he was competing for the backup quarterback spot behind Marcus Mariota. However, Falk couldn’t beat out veteran Blaine Gabbert for that role and Falk ended up losing his roster spot with the Titans as well. Falk could be a solid backup for a team in need of one, although it might take some time to develop him. Falk has already found another team though as the Dolphins claimed him off waivers and he will compete for a roster spot there. It is unfortunate that Falk didn’t last very long with the Titans, but he is probably going into a better situation with Miami.
Washington Redskins – Kapri Bibbs – Running Back
The Redskins have been absolutely decimated at the running back position during the preseason as Derrius Guice and Byron Marshall both suffered serious injuries. That led the team to sign future hall-of-fame running back Adrian Peterson just before the start of the regular season. However, it appears that signing came at the expense of young running back Kapri Bibbs who barely missed making the active roster for the Redskins. Bibbs has been impressive during the preseason because of his versatility as a runner and a pass-catcher as well. Bibbs might draw interest from other teams in need of running back depth, although he was re-signed to the Redskins practice squad for now. It was surprising to see Washington let go of Bibbs considering the injuries they’ve had at the position, but it might not be too long before he is back on the active roster.