NFL Cuts 2019: Predictions for Likeliest Big-Name Releases Before Season

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2019

Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise runs against the New England Patriots during an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Cutdown day is less than two weeks away, and NFL players are sweating it outliterally and figurativelyas they try to prove they deserve a spot on their team's 53-man roster.

For those who are truly on the bubble, they'll have two more preseason games and a handful of training camp practices to make their case. Teams must cut their rosters down to the 53-man limit by 4 p.m. ET on August 31. 

Every offseason, a few notable names emerge among those who don't make it through to the final rosters. And we've already seen some examples, from the Green Bay Packers releasing defensive lineman Mike Daniels to the Detroit Lions cutting running back Theo Riddick.

Whether it's due to cap crunching, injury concerns or simply a lack of production, the following players are particularly vulnerable to roster cutdowns. 


Big-Name Cut Predictions

Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

Heading into the third week of the preseason, the Bills' running back group consists of LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Devin Singletary, Senorise Perry, T.J. Yeldon, Marcus Murphy and Christian Wade, with only four (and fullback Patrick DiMarco) expected to make the final cut. 

The Bills could make Yeldon the odd man out here, but the deck is stacked against McCoy. He's 31 years old, his productivity is on the decline and his 2019 cap hit is $9.05 million. 

McCoy has been rumored to be a cut candidate since the draft, and The MMQB's Albert Breer suggested that was still a possibility last month. Of the veterans—McCoy, Gore and Yeldon—in the running backs room, the cap hit and guaranteed money are highest for McCoy. 


Brian Hoyer, QB, New England Patriots 

If the Patriots decide not to keep three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, Jarrett Stidham, not Brian Hoyer, would most likely get the nod to back up Tom Brady.

Through two preseason games, Stidham has seen 104 snaps to Hoyer's 48, per ESPN's Mike Reiss

Seasoned backups are always in high demand in the NFL, and it's possible the Patriots could find a trade partner for the 33-year-old if he doesn't factor into their future plans.

However, releasing Hoyer isn't financially prohibitive. As the Boston Globe's Ben Volin pointed out, his $1.51 million guaranteed base salary comes with offsets, which could make the amount the Patriots are actually on the hook for far lower. 


A.J. Bouye, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars

There's no doubt A.J. Bouye getting cut by the Jaguars would come as a surprise, but that doesn't mean the option is completely off the table.

As they try to field the best 53-man roster while also keeping their cap healthy, the Jaguars are going to have some tough choices to make. 

In 2017, the Jaguars signed Bouye to a five-year, $67.5 million contract with $26 million guaranteed. However, the team wisely front-loaded the deal so that the guaranteed money was amortized over a $10 million signing bonus and the first two years' salary. 

In that sense, the Jaguars gave themselves a potential out in 2019. If he were released now, the 28-year-old would only count $6 million in dead cap money, as opposed to the $26 million and $21 million in dead cap, respectively, over the last two seasons. 

And though Bouye showed he was worth every penny in the first year after signing his extension, with six interceptions, he missed three games in 2017 and nabbed just one interception. 

Jalen Ramsey is the future in Jacksonville, and the Jaguars need to keep their cap healthy enough to sign him to an extension. This is one way to do it. 


C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Like the Bills, the Seahawks have a deep running back group anchored by Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. With Travis Homer, J.D. McKissic and Nick Bellore also in the mix, the writing appears to be on the wall for C.J. Prosise. 

The Seahawks' third-round pick in 2016 hasn't had a long tenure in Seattle, and it hasn't been particularly successful. That's thanks in part to mounting injuries (he's played only 16 games in three seasons), but if he's not healthy, Prosise can't fight for his roster spot. A hip strain has kept him out of the team's first two preseason games.

What McKissic brings to the table in special teams is even more of an obstacle to Prosise staking his claim on the 53-man roster. 

Butch Dill/Associated Press


Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings 

Vikings wideout Laquon Treadwell is another recent, early-round draft selection who may not be long for the team that drafted him. 

A first-round pick in 2016, the 24-year-old has totaled only 517 yards and one touchdowns in his career to date, which certainly isn't what the team was hoping for from a first-round selection.

The Vikings could try to move him, but if they can't, Treadwell's dead cap this season is only about $2.5 million. The team is only projected to have about $4.9 million in cap space as things stand, and it could save almost a million off his cap hit of $3.1 million.  

Then there's the fact Kirk Cousins' other options include Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Chad Beebe, Brandon Zylstra, Bisi Johnson and Jeff Badet. There just aren't enough snaps to go around for a player like Treadwell who isn't making the most of his opportunities. 


Cardale Jones, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

Unfortunately for Cardale Jones, this offseason could play out like a bad dream that won't stop repeating, after he found himself in the undesirable position of being waived by the Chargers around this time last year. 

However, the team added the 26-year-old to its practice squad last September after he cleared waivers.

In this year's NFL draft, though, Los Angeles used a fifth-round pick to select rookie Easton Stick, and if they're only keeping two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, it seems likely he gets the nod. It would be hard to sneak him through waivers, whereas Jones did it just a year ago.

If history wants to keep repeating itself, though, Jones is still eligible for the practice squad if the team once again waives him and he, once again, clears waivers. 


Contract details courtesy of Spotrac