Unfortunately, Gilyard is the odd man out.
The decision to cut Gilyard doesn't make sense in my opinion. Of course, we don't know yet who else may be cut, but it appeared that Danario Alexander would be the first person shown the door. Alexander has had hurt knees throughout his college and short NFL careers. Gilyard, on the other hand, is also a second-year player, but he just didn't fit into the Rams' system well.
What could've been a reason to cut him is the re-signing of Mark Clayton. Personally, I don't believe that bringing Clayton back was a good decision, and I've said it before. Clayton will start the season on the PUP list; and when he returns, he will take somebody's roster spot.
Signing a 29-year-old veteran coming off a serious knee injury instead of keeping a 24-year-old who has shown promise this preseason doesn't make sense. There is a very realistic chance that this move could come back to hurt the Rams.
This preseason, Gilyard showed that he can be an effective slot receiver in a spread offensive system. He also displayed his potential as a return man. It's not just Rams fans that will take notice of his performance. Teams from around the league will look at tape of Gilyard this preseason and see that he could have a bright future.
Why wouldn't a team take a chance on Gilyard? His off-the-field issues that he had at Cincinnati haven't transferred over to the NFL. He has a clean slate and will now be motivated more so than ever.
It wouldn't be too surprising to see a team like the New England Patriots or New Orleans Saints take a chance on Mardy Gilyard. The Patriots and Saints are known for making low-key players successful in their systems. New England is getting older at receiver, and Wes Welker can only take so many shots across the middle. New Orleans could take the time to develop Gilyard while using Lance Moore as their primary slot receiver.
Those teams are just examples of how Gilyard could be used. There's no telling what's next in his NFL career. The point I'm trying to make is that all it takes is one opportunity for him to show what he can do. Proof of that is current Rams slot receiver Danny Amendola who was originally cut by the Cowboys. Hopefully, one day we don't look back and say, "Man, look who we let slide between our fingers."
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