The Biggest Winners and Losers of NFL Roster Cuts
As the Chad Johnson scene on Hard Knocks proved, NFL roster cuts are a grimy business. There are always some heartbreaking incidents to match the exhilaration of dreams coming true.
Some moves demonstrate just how deep certain positions are with specific teams.
Others were just confounding.
Click through to find out which players and teams are enjoying or lamenting the recent roster trimmings.
Some Guys Catch All the Breaks
Life's tough for Tom Brady.
His New England Patriots are always in contention, and his roster of endorsements is ever-expanding.
There have been two Super Bowl losses to the New York Giants, but here's guessing his three rings will comfort him at the end of his career.
Assuming he only has three.
The Pats upgraded their receiving talent in a scary way. Brandon Lloyd gives Brady a legitimate deep threat, and Visanthe Shiancoe is a reliable third tight end.
Considering the talent that was released (discussed later), Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman are more than ready for expanded roles.
Wide Receiver-Needy Teams Can Look to the New England Patriots
The flip side of having all kinds of receiving talent in training camp is that you'll be forced to release some talented players.
Deion Branch, Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth have nothing to be ashamed of. The competition for roster spots at the New England Patriots' camp was ridiculous.
All three receivers have passed their primes, but each is still worthy of a roster spot on wide receiver-needy teams.
While We're in Boston, Let's Buy Brian Hoyer a Beer
Brian Hoyer probably didn't enjoy the holiday weekend as much as the rest of America.
After being beat out by Ryan Mallet for the backup job, Hoyer was released into the wild and forced to fend for himself.
Hoyer was slapped with a second-round tender this offseason, which made a move to another team prohibitive. His career isn't over, but he lost the opportunity to learn a new offense over the past few months.
From trade buzz to cut a year later, welcome to the NFL.
Then Jump a Plane and Grab Josh Johnson's Tab
Josh Johnson seemed to have a semi-promising future just two years ago with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He wasn't destined for stardom, but backup quarterback isn't a terrible way to make a living.
That all changed when he was cut by the San Francisco 49ers, a quarterback-deficient team.
Johnson put up a a stellar 115.3 rating. However, he spent most of his time playing other backups, and the coaches felt Scott Tolzien was a better fit.
Hopefully, he'll be given another chance, as he's young and certainly has some talent, but his options are dwindling.
The Washington Redskins Always Make at Least One Confusing Move
Injuries have claimed the careers of numerous players.
Tim Hightower is feeling the emotional toll of physical pain. The Washington Redskins have stated they would reconsider the power back in the future if his knee returns to form, but they don't have a roster spot for him right now.
Hightower performed well in his limited opportunities, as his 5.6-yards-per-carry average attests. Mike Shanahan just didn't find it enough to keep him over Roy Helu, Evan Royster and Alfred Morris.
The knee didn't seem to hold him back against the Indianapolis Colts, and he's a proven veteran. Interesting move to say the least.
Then the Washington Redskins Usually Make Another
The Washington Redskins have three decent receiving options in Pierre Garcon, a rejuvenated Santana Moss and Fred Davis. Then, things get dicey.
So obviously, the best move, especially when breaking in a rookie quarterback, is to release a proven tight end like Chris Cooley. That's exactly what the Skins did.
Had he still been injured, this story would be quite different. The thoughts behind the cut seem to be that we have a starter in Davis and don't need Cooley.
Good football coaches fit their schemes to accommodate the players they have. Not to mention the league has become tight-end crazy lately.
The Arizona Cardinals Still Don't Have a Quarterback or an Offensive Line
I feel bad continuing to lament about the Arizona Cardinals offense. It doesn't seem fair.
Unfortunately, there is no way around it.
The offensive line was more like a filter than a barrier, allowing opponents to pass through at will. The quarterbacks are so scarred by the experience that defenders have noted how uncomfortable they appear in the pocket.
Perhaps they need a big, mobile quarterback with the ability to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. Where could they find one of those?
The Detroit Lions Might Have Found a Starter in Another Team's Dumpster
The Detroit Lions can sling the ball like nobody's business. However, they have been equally as nice to opposing passing attacks.
To be sure, the reported signing of Drayton Florence is not the end all, be all for the Lions secondary. But he will provide a steady veteran presence in a shaky defensive backfield.
Louis Delmas is constantly battling injuries, and Amari Spievey has yet to make an impression. Any help back there must be welcomed for a Detroit team that spent the last month of 2011 getting shredded.
Kellen Winslow Should Update His Resume
Brace yourself, Kellen Winslow, but it appears the bell tolls for thee.
The mercurial tight end has seemingly run out of chances in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks offered a lifeline, and Winslow was unable to hold on.
There isn't a question of talent; he just refuses to grow up. Winslow reportedly wasn't interested in a salary cut and appears to have priced himself out of the league.
There's a chance he catches on somewhere else. However, Seattle was probably his last shot considering the team has been the league's halfway house for fading stars.
But Braylon Edwards Didn't Drop the Ball
Braylon Edwards can take a momentary breather. He's officially back in the NFL.
In the few opportunities he was given during the preseason, Edwards answered the bell. He also has been impressing coaches by consistently making plays in training camp.
Now he has a chance to become surprise starting quarterback Russell Wilson's prime target. Sidney Rice hasn't established a firm grip on the job, and the rest of the receiving talent with the Seattle Seahawks is unproven.
I'd say that's a win.