Biggest Surprise Cuts around the NFL
We're nearing that time of the year. The start of the NFL season is just a few days away now and teams are trimming their rosters down to their final 53 men. Every year we see a few guys make an unexpected trip to the waiver wire. Here are a few of the top players that have been released or traded so far and where I think they may end up:
Dolphins QB Josh Rosen
Ok, here me out. Rosen hasn't played well at all since entering the league, but he hasn't exactly been thrown into the greatest of situations in Arizona and Miami. He was viewed as the most pro-ready quarterback in a loaded draft class featuring Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Sam Darnold just two years ago. Rosen still has value as a backup in this league with the potential to develop into more if given time in the right system. I don't think he's a future superstar or anything like that - but he does offer value - especially in a season where an extra quarterback really should be kept on the roster in case of emergency, due to COVID.
I think Rosen could fit in as a backup with the Jets, Steelers, Broncos, Rams, or even the Patriots. The Jets need a backup behind Darnold, since Joe Flacco is likely to miss the first few weeks of the season as he recovers from offseason neck surgery. James Morgan, the Jets fourth round pick, has reportedly struggled throughout camp. David Fales and Mike White are the only other quarterbacks on the roster.
Pittsburgh has Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, and Paxton Lynch behind Big Ben on the depth chart. The Steelers didn't exactly have great quarterback play last season once Roethlisberger was hurt. It may be wise for them to look into bringing in another quarterback, just in case a repeat of last season happens.
The Rams have two inexperienced quarterbacks on their roster behind Jared Goff in Bryce Perkins and John Wolford. It may make sense for them to bring in a little extra competition.
New England has a history of picking up high profile players with upside that didn't pan out elsewhere. Their quarterback room consists of two inexperienced players in Brian Lewerke and Jarrett Stidham, plus Brian Hoyer.
The Jaguars released both Mike Glennon and Josh Dobbs today. They have just Jake Luton behind Gardner Minshew on the quarterback depth chart.
Potential teams: Broncos, Jaguars, Jets, Patriots, Rams, Steelers
Raiders RB Lynn Bowden Jr.
The Raiders drafted Bowden Jr in the third round this year, but decided to trade him and a sixth round pick to the Dolphins for a fourth round pick. Bowden never really had a true position in college. He had 74 pass attempts, 206 rushes and 114 receptions during his three seasons at Kentucky. Bowden was expected to be more of a running back for the Raiders, but apparently they saw enough in limited snaps at training camp to pull the plug on the experiment. The Dolphins plan on using him as more of a wide receiver, according to Barry Jackson. Still, very surprising to see a team give up on a third round pick this quickly. The Raiders had to know Bowden Jr was a raw prospect coming out of Kentucky that would require time to develop.
Cowboys S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Dallas brought in Clinton-Dix this offseason on a one-year, $3.75 million deal that included a $1.25 million signing bonus, but it appears the Cowboys were unimpressed with Clinton-Dix in training camp. He was beaten out by the New York Giants former third round pick in 2016, Darian Thompson. Clinton-Dix clearly isn't the same player that made the Pro Bowl back in 2016, but could provide veteran depth and leadership to a team looking for help at the safety position. He's still just 28 years old. It's not known yet if Dallas is just really high on Thompson after what they saw in training camp or if the team could potentially have any interest in free agent Earl Thomas.
Potential teams: Browns, Colts, Ravens, Vikings
Cardinals WR Hakeem Butler
Butler was a fourth round pick by the Cardinals last season, but missed all of last season due to injury. The Cardinals are loaded with talent at the wide receiver position and Butler was the odd man out. He didn't impress much and has always had issues with drops since college. He has a rare combination of size and speed though that teams may want to gamble on, hoping he can work on his hands.
Green Bay could use another wide receiver, after failing to get Aaron Rodgers one in the draft this offseason. They were highly criticized for failing to add any receivers and Butler could allow them to stretch the field a bit more.
Potential teams: Bears, Eagles, 49ers, Giants, Jets, Packers, Patriots
Washington RB Adrian Peterson
I can't blame Washington for wanting to move on from Peterson. He just turned 35 years old this season and Antonio Gibson has impressed in training camp. It's time to see what Gibson and last seasons' fourth round pick Bryce Love are made of. Love was considered a top prospect in college, but a torn ACL lowered his draft stock and he also missed last season with another knee surgery.
Peterson is at the stage in his career where he'll most likely be used in a running back by committee if he's signed. His best chance at a starting gig though will be in Jacksonville, after the team released Leonard Fournette unexpectedly. The Jags currently look to have Devine Ozigbo and Chris Thompson split carries to start the season. Peterson would be a big improvement for them.
The Falcons and Titans are also intriguing spots, if Peterson is willing to sign on as a backup or play in more of a running back by committee approach. Atlanta would be wise to add another running back, given the injury history of Todd Gurley. Tennessee lacks much depth behind Derrick Henry and Peterson would fit in well with their offensive play style.
Potential teams: Bears, Falcons, Jaguars, Titans
Broncos LB Todd Davis
Davis has spent his last six seasons in Denver, with four of those as a starter. He led the team in tackles last season, despite missing two games. He was also a team captain in 2018. Davis has struggled in pass coverage, but could provide value to a team searching for a good run stuffer.
The Rams could potentially be a good fit for Davis. Rams' defensive coordinator Brandon Staley coached the Broncos' linebackers last season.
The Giants lack depth at inside linebacker after their new free agent addition, Blake Martinez. David Mayo is expected to miss at least the first few weeks of the season and the Giants typically value players that can stuff the run. They also surprisingly released Ryan Connelly, who was recovering from an ACL tear.
Potential fits: Giants, Packers, Rams
Patriots WR Mohammad Sanu
Wow, that trade last season really turned out to be a disaster for New England. The Patriots traded a second round pick to the Falcons for Sanu just last October. Sanu recorded 26 receptions for 207 yards and 1 touchdown in 8 games for New England last season. Sanu's stats may have been a disappointment in his first season with the Patriots, but they still really lack any depth at wide receiver. This move looks like more of a move to save cap space.
Washington would be an interesting fit for Sanu. The team could use veteran leadership in their young wide receiver corps. They lack depth behind last season's impressive rookie standout, Terry McLaurin. He's also close with Dwayne Haskins and it wouldn't hurt to give the young quarterback a familiar face in the locker room to help guide him.
Potential fits: 49ers, Jets, Packers, Redskins
You can follow Tom Barnett on Twitter @tbarnett91