A predictable first day led-way to a few head-scratchers on day two.
Roster cuts always seem to come and go very quickly. Of course, months of work actually go into making the decisions. But there is a very brief 24-hour period where the NFL world is glued to Twitter to see which players they’ve followed for months. Who will or will not make their favorite team?
As “player x is getting cut, sources tell me” tweets come rolling in, some send shockwaves through the NFL world. This offseason has been no stranger to that. The Broncos release of Pro Bowl safety TJ Ward and the Bills cut of productive running back Jonathan Williams surprised many fans, experts and players. Luckily, the Saints weren’t part of that trend, for the most part.
The final roster
Most of the final roster wasn’t hard to see coming. Only two first day moves could be deemed surprising: the cuttings of Adam Bighill and Travaris Cadet. Bighill because he was so impressive this preseason, and Cadet because he’s a solid veteran running back for the team.
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But both can me rationalized. Bighill stepped up as a linebacker in the preseason, leading the team in tackles in the team’s final game (11). However, he is still an NFL rookie, and it seems like the coaching staff wants to give Stephone Anthony another shot at making an impact, and Nate Stupar to fulfill special team needs.
Cadet’s cut only became surprising when the team decided to keep 5 running backs. Leaving Cadet off of that list is quite shocking. The veteran Saint seemed prime to fill the fourth running back role. This decision seemed to be special team focused as well, though, as Daniel Lasco and Trey Edmunds look to compete for the fourth spot and play on special teams.
Other than that, no other moves surprised the majority. The stars (Drew Brees, Cameron Jordan, Michael Thomas) stayed. Important veterans (like Adrian Peterson, Manti Te’o, and Rafael Bush) made the cut.
The team decided to only keep two quarterbacks. Every single Saints draft selection in 2017 also made the final roster. On top of that, Bighill and impressive undrafted rookie cornerback Arthur Maulet are headed to the practice squad after clearing waivers. Everything went according to plan.
Day 2 was a bit different…
Even if everything was going peachy, there are still issues with the Saints roster. Star lineman Teron Armstead will miss a significant amount of time to begin the season, as will starting cornerback, Delvin Breaux. Armstead was just activated from the PUP. Willie Snead, New Orleans’ second starting receiver, has been suspended for the first 3 games of the regular season.
Unfortunate happenings needed to be addressed. However, I don’t think I was the only person a bit taken back by a couple of happenings on day two. Fullback John Kuhn was cut along with veteran defensive end Darryl Tapp. Both had been heavy rotational players for their first seasons as members of the Saints in 2016.
Why the cuts?
Their cuts were later reveled to be moves for more roster space. The Saints claimed two rookies off waivers: receiver Austin Carr from the Patriots, and quarterback Taysom Hill from the Packers. Carr will essentially attempt to replace the void left by Snead. Hill will most likely be a prototype practice squad player who may be groomed to become a future backup.
The good news is that Kuhn, at least, is expected to resign today with the Saints, as the roster continues to shuffle. It’s expected Delvin Breaux will be placed on IR and Kuhn will take that roster spot. With a week to go before opening night, hopefully the Saints are beginning to actually finalize the 53-man roster and their practice squad.
Saints fans thankfully avoided saying official goodbyes to at least one of its grittiest and intense veterans. The team is still thin with its wide receiver and offensive line groups, but that should change as early as week 4. Two curveballs and some sliders were thrown our way this weekend. Nothing catastrophic happened, feeding the fire of hope for this Saints squad. Things seem to be on the up and up, with expectations rising as well.