31 Aug Stromme’s Takes: Ten Interesting Pre-Season Roster Cuts
All 32 NFL teams were required to cut down their rosters down to 75 by 4PM EST on Aug. 31.
Weeks of blood, sweat and tears all come down to this moment. All day, fringe-players around the league spend all day wondering if coach will call them to let them know whether to turn in their playbook or not.
Here are ten interesting names that were called into their respective coach’s offices, only to find out that they’re going to have to find work elsewhere.
1) Brandon Browner, DB, Seattle Seahawks
I’m not gunna lie, I was intrigued to see the name “Brandon Browner” come across the ticker this offseason. To see him back with the Seahawks only fueled my curiosity. Could it be? Is the band (Legion of Boom) getting back together? I mean, It wasn’t exactly Axl and Slash back on-stage again, but it as a football fan; I was really interested to see this happen.
Well… the original lineup was together for all of three preseason games before the band disbanded again. This reunion went just as well as a potential Oasis reunion. And while nobody’s saying Browner’s NFL career won’t “Live Forever”, this latest snag isn’t exactly a good sign.
While Coach Pete Carroll may have given up on him, a couple of his former defensive coordinators may give him a chance. The Atlanta Falcons are all types of hurting on defense, a veteran presence in Browner could be worth a look. Plus, he’s familiar with Dan Quinn’s defense, given Quinn’s past in Seattle.
The Jacksonville Jaguars also employ a former Legion of Boom architect in Gus Br
adley. While the Jaguars don’t have much room for Browner to make an impact on the field, he could be a strong veteran presence to rookie CB
Jalen Ramsay. The name of Browner’s game is physicality, a top defensive back prospect in Ramsay can always learn to add a little edge to their game.
And who knows? Browner has a history with Bill Belichick in New England. Maybe he returns to Foxborough?
Something tells me that we haven’t seen the last of Brandon Browner.
2) David Cobb, RB, Tennessee Titans
There were many in fantasy circles that regarded David Cobb as the most talented running back the Titans had going into training camp. And, he showed flashes of that talent last preseason before a devastating calf injury derailed his preseason and landed him on the IR with a designation to return.
He did make his way back to the lineup in 2015 after missing the first nine games. He started one of the final seven games (Week 17 vs the Colts) and went 19/73/1. Not bad.
However, with the Titans doing a complete overhaul at running back and Cobb being a between-the-tackles runner, the Titans let him go. With the team adding DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, keeping Cobb around seemed like a redundancy.
However, a team that could use Cobb is the San Diego Chargers. While Melvin Gordon has electric speed, he’s unproven between the tackles and in short-yardage situations. Danny Woodhead is a pass-catching specialist, and while he seems to get goal-line work, it’s primarily in the passing game. With David Cobb at a hearty 229 lbs and a history with Chargers OC Ken Whisenhunt (Whisenhunt was the head coach in Tennessee, remember?), this could be a great fit for all parties involved.
Cobb is too young and too talented not to get another chance somewhere else.
3) Paul Kruger, LB, Cleveland Browns
While I’m not too crazy about a defensively-challenged team cutting a talented veteran linebacker, I kinda understand where they’re coming from.
Kruger was owed $1.2 million and just came off the lowest sack total of his career since 2010(2.5), his sophomore season with the Ravens. He had 11 sacks in his first season in Cleveland.
With the Browns going towards a youth movement on both sides of the ball, and 2016 designed to be more of a development year, getting rid of Kruger makes sense in hindsight. They drafted four LB/DE-types in Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, Joe Schobert and Scooby Wright in last year’s draft alone. A year-long competition for playing time might be a better alternative for the Browns this season. I’m sure four scrappy, young players climbing over each other for playing time than one disgruntled vet clogging up the depth chart.
ESPN reports that Kruger has a visit with the Saints lined-up this week. If they don’t take him, I’m sure 30 other teams could use a cheap situational pass rusher.
4) Rueben Randle, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Randle was living on borrowed time in Philly the second the team acquired Dorial Green-Beckham. Green-Beckham is essentially a younger, faster, stronger Randle with a higher physical upside.
Coming off a career year of 57/797/8 on 90 targets, his 6-4, 205 lb frame could be a major asset for teams who are offensively-challenged in the red zone. Although, reports of his lack of effort don’t exactly bode well for Randle.
With the Jets lacking receiver depth behind Decker and Marshall, he could be an interesting fit there. The Bills don’t have much talent behind Sammy Watkins, and while they don’t throw as often as others, that team can always use more depth. Hell, he may even end up back with the Giants after all this. I mean, Victor Cruz is still a big question mark from a health standpoint, and he did have great chemistry with Eli Manning last season opposite Odell Beckham Jr.
5) Terrance Knighton, NT, New England Patriots.
The man who’s infamously known as “Pot Roast” was soo pumped to sign in New England. The Windsor, CT native was over the moon to play for the team he grew up cheering for. It must have been disappointing for him not to stick with this team.
While Knighton profiles more as a NT, he could be used as a 3-4 run-stopping DE. Ironically enough, his former team, the Broncos have some depleted depth at that position with DE Vance Walker tearing his ACL this preseason. While I don’t think a Pot Roast-Bronco reunion is a lock, it’s definitely a thought worth pondering.
The Saints lost their first round pick DT Sheldon Rankins for the first two months of the season to a broken fibula. Knighton could be an interesting stop-gap option on an interim basis.
6) Zach Mettenberger, QB, San Diego Chargers
Mettenberger lost the battle with veteran Kellen Clemens to be Phillip Rivers’ caddy in 2016. This is especially discouraging given that it almost seems that Mettenberger was hand-picked by OC Ken Whisenhunt to be the backup.
With a career 12-14 TD-INT ratio, odds are that not many teams are going to look at Mettenberger quite the way Whisenhunt did when he gave him a legitimate shot to start over Marcus Mariota last August.
MAYBE a team gets desperate after a devastating injury to their quarterback *COUGHVIKINGSCOUGH*, but I doubt it. He’s more than likely going to be holding a clip board as someone’s number three emergency QB, but that’s about it.
7) Brad Sorensen, QB, Minnesota Vikings
I won’t lie to you reader, I didn’t know this name before today either. I’m only bringing him up because the Vikings did sign him 11 days ago, before cutting him again on Aug 31. Ironically enough, Teddy Bridgewater obliterates his knee in multiple ways a few hours after Sorensen was brought into coach Zimmer’s office and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport did mention his name on The NFL Network when asked if the Vikings would look to add QB depth behind veteran Shaun Hill.
He was drafted by the Chargers in the 7th round of the 2013 draft and has never even came close to sniffing the field. But, he’s a Shaun Hill-injury away from playing significant games for a team that at the very least, had playoff aspirations before watching their fearless leader go down.
No real substance behind this call, it’s just a gut feeling. I mean, nobody knew who Trevor Siemian was before this offseason, Ryan Fitzpatrick was a 7th round pick that bounced-around a little bit. All I’m saying is, this game’s a funny one.
8) Bjoern Werner, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars.
It’s official, Bjoern Werner is a first-round bust.
Not that anyone really remembered the Indianapolis Colts’ 23rd overall pick of the 2013 draft anyways, but I guess it’s still tough to see a guy who was taken in the first round looking for work just three years after being drafted so highly.
But just for fun, here are some notable linebackers taken after Werner in 2013:
Alec Ogletree, Rams
Jamie Collins, Patriots
Manti T’eo, Chargers
Kiko Alonso, Bills
Sam Barrington, Packers
Man, you just never know with this game. And, who knows? Maybe Werner gets another chance and makes the best of it? I mean, many said similar things about Jerry Hughes, another DE/LB taken by the Colts in the first round.
9) Quinton Coples, DE, Los Angeles Rams
Another former first round pick was cut this preseason.
Coples was taken by the Jets in the first round of the 2012 draft (16th overall). Coples had 16.5 sacks for the Jets through the first three years of his career. He was let go by the Jets midway from last season, where he was picked up
by the rival Dolphins to fill-in for the injured Cameron Wake.
After failing to solidify a spot with the Fins, he was let-go in the offseason and picked up by the Rams; a pass rusher’s haven. The fact that Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams, two coaches that LOVE to rush the QB had no room for this guy is a huge red flag.
First round pick or not, players who get cut by three teams in less than a calendar year don’t typically get a fourth chance. However, with Rex Ryan, the coach who drafted him, hurting for pass rushers; he could be given a chance to play under the Ryan brothers in Orchard Park.
10) Bryan Stork, OL, Patriots
This move kind of puzzled me. Why would a team who was hurting for help on the o-line last season cut a young, versatile lineman who ended up starting 17 games over the last two seasons? Especially after placing veteran RT Sebastian Vollmer on the PUP list to start the season.
But hey, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many other times this season, nobody has ever gotten rich betting against Bill Belichick. I’m sure he has his reasons.
For more of my takes, fantasy analysis and picks against the spread, follow me on Twitter @stromme_93!