NFL Teams Who Lost the Most Talent on Cut Day
NFL cut day can bring either happiness or anguish for roster hopefuls across the league. The decision-makers had to shrink their depth charts to 53 players Saturday. As is the case every year, notable veterans lost jobs.
In some instances, teams recognized a poor fit between players and the system, which prompted shocking cuts. Then again, coaches stumbled upon pleasant surprises as well. Despite an atypical camp without OTAs or a preseason, some rookies won position battles over veterans.
With final rosters in place, let's gauge which clubs have lost the most talent since Friday. We'll focus on quality over quantity, meaning two starting-caliber veterans count for a bigger loss than four players destined to hang around on the practice squad.
To break this down, past production, recent starts and upside factor into the team selections.
Key Cuts: QB Davis Webb, WR Andre Roberts, WR Duke Williams, WR Robert Foster
The Buffalo Bills have a clear pecking order atop their wide receiver group. Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley fill the top three spots. The front office selected Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively, and the former has looked impressive at camp, per Maddy Glab of the team's official website.
The solid trio and two rookies made it difficult for players in competition for back-end roster spots at the position.
Andre Roberts has 10 years of experience and earned Pro Bowl honors as a kick returner in 2018 and 2019. He was also named an All-Pro in 2018. However, the Bills reportedly want to re-sign him, per WGR 550's Sal Capaccio.
Duke Williams made his presence felt down the stretch in the previous campaign, logging six receptions and 108 receiving yards against the New York Jets in Week 17. He also hauled in four passes for 49 yards in the Bills' Wild Card Game with the Houston Texans.
Robert Foster had a decent 2018 season. He finished second on the team in receiving yards (541), averaging 20 yards per reception. During the last term, he battled a groin injury and was inactive as a healthy scratch.
Davis Webb deserves mention because of his draft pedigree. He's a third-round pick from the New York Giants' 2017 class who's struggled to claim a backup job. Matt Barkley and rookie fifth-rounder Jake Fromm will fill the reserve spots behind Josh Allen.
Las Vegas Raiders
Key Cuts: RB Theo Riddick, OT Sam Young, CB Prince Amukamara, S Damarious Randall
The Las Vegas Raiders didn't hold on to their veteran insurance policies in the secondary.
Apparently, rookie first-rounder Damon Arnette showed enough at camp to take the starting job, which would explain the team's decision to release Prince Amukamara. The Ohio State product also showed grit while practicing with a fractured thumb, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
According to The Athletic's Vic Tafur, Damarious Randall "wasn't a good fit." Erik Harris, who's started 18 games over the past two seasons, will probably start alongside Johnathan Abram.
Amukamara and Randall served as full-time starters with their previous teams before signing with the Raiders this offseason. Both defensive backs will likely land on rosters in the near future and play meaningful roles at some point in the upcoming campaign.
Sam Young isn't a household name, though offensive coordinator Greg Olson said he had a "very good camp," which made it easier for the team to trade fellow tackle David Sharpe to the Washington Football Team. After sitting out five games because of calf and pectoral issues last year, right tackle Trent Brown has missed several practices with an undisclosed injury.
The Raiders' decision to release Young sounds like a vote of confidence for Brown's health, but the offensive line could experience some leaks if he misses time during the season. Brandon Parker, a 2018 third-rounder, has struggled on the right side, allowing 13 sacks through two terms, per Pro Football Focus.
Theo Riddick would've occupied the same spot as Jalen Richard in a third-down pass-catching role, so he's not a surprise cut. However, the eighth-year veteran who has 285 receptions for 2,238 yards and 14 touchdowns should land with another squad.
New York Jets
Key Cuts: WR Donte Moncrief, WR Lawrence Cager, C Jonotthan Harrison, LB James Burgess
New York Jets wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Denzel Mims (hamstring) battled injuries through training camp, so the team made some late pickups at the position. Chris Hogan made the 53-man roster, but Donte Moncrief will look for an opportunity elsewhere.
Moncrief had two decent seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015 and 2018, respectively, eclipsing 650 receiving yards in both seasons. He could serve as a No. 2 or 3 option for a team in need of help at wideout.
The Jets signed center Connor McGovern back in April, which made Jonotthan Harrison expendable. He logged 10 starts at the pivot in 2019, and the 29-year-old can provide quality depth on the interior.
Without Avery Williamson (torn ACL) or C.J. Mosley (groin) on the field for most of the 2019 season, the Jets inserted James Burgess into the starting lineup. He totaled 80 tackles, eight for loss, five pass breakups and an interception.
Mosley exercised the COVID-19 opt-out option, and fellow inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor suffered a knee injury that will keep him out four to five weeks, per ESPN's Rich Cimini, which leaves some room for backup snaps at the position. Instead, the Jets will roll with Williamson, Neville Hewitt and Blake Cashman for now.
Key Cuts: DT Anthony Rush, DE Shareef Miller, CB Sidney Jones, CB Rasul Douglas, CB Trevor Williams
The Philadelphia Eagles let go of some depth on defense. Most notably, they parted ways with two early-round picks from the 2017 draft, Sidney Jones (second round) and Rasul Douglas (third round).
Jones struggled with injuries before the Eagles drafted him. He suffered a torn Achilles at his pro day and appeared in only one game as a rookie. In the following season, the Washington product battled a hamstring injury, which limited him to nine contests.
Despite playing 12 games through the 2019 term, Jones only saw the field for 29 percent of the defensive snaps. Because of his draft pedigree, another team will likely give the 24-year-old another shot.
Douglas showed flashes in some spots, but he gave up too much real estate for a player in a rotational role, allowing 1,342 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns over the last two seasons.
Shareef Miller, a 2019 fourth-rounder, has only suited up for one game. He's a candidate to land on the practice squad if no team claims him off waivers.
Trevor Williams made 27 starts with the Los Angeles Chargers between 2016 and 2018. He has since moved on and off the Eagles' roster through the 2020 offseason, with Philadelphia releasing the 26-year-old in July and re-signing him in August. Because of his experience as a No. 2 cornerback, he'll probably land in another spot before Week 1.
Geoff Mosher of Inside the Birds called Anthony Rush "a good player" who missed the cut due to the Eagles' depth at his position.
Washington Football Team
Key Cuts: RB Adrian Peterson, WR Trey Quinn, CB Aaron Colvin, S Sean Davis
The Washington Football Team made one of the most notable cuts over the past two days, releasing Adrian Peterson, who had served as the club's lead ball-carrier since 2018.
Peterson has shown he's still a serviceable running back in the latter stages of his career, logging 1,940 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns through two seasons in Washington.
Trey Quinn popped up as a surprise to Sam Fortier of the Washington Post. Although he's only hauled in 35 receptions for 273 yards and two touchdowns since being drafted in 2018, the SMU product could've made a decent third-year leap in a depleted wide receiver unit. Steven Sims Jr.'s presence in the slot likely pushed him out.
Aaron Colvin and Sean Davis have started a combined 71 games, though both missed significant time because of injuries last season.
Still 28 years old, Colvin can catch on elsewhere in the nickel spot. Davis, a second-round pick from the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2016 draft class, has safety versatility with experience in the free and strong spots.
Final roster cuts provided by ESPN.com.