It began the moment the players walked off the field of last years Super Bowl. It culminated yesterday, September 3rd, 2016 at 4 PM EST. 22 players for each team. 704 men total. Some veterans hoping for one last run. Some young men full of hope and promise. Others working the seasonal merry-go-round for another year as they attempt to make the show. They were so close. They had survived the first round of cuts and watched 432 of their brethren have their dreams crushed early in the first wave of cuts. So close.
Yet all is not lost. As in nature often a death leads to a rebirth. Such is the NFL version of Musical Chairs played out at this time every year. Veteran Broncos QB Sanchez is a prime example. Mark Sanchez took his game to the Dallas Cowboys mere moments after his release from the Denver Broncos. Mark was unable to win the job in Denver. Sanchez has fatal flaws for a QB1 regularly finding creative ways to turn the ball over. Such is the stuff QB2’s are made of however and (obviously) quick re-signings as well.
Some are reporting the deal was signed too quickly and the Dallas Cowboys may get investigated for tampering with the thought in mind a deal could not have been signed that fast unless details had been worked out before he was released. The definition of tampering. Seriously, is Jerry Jones not aware the Mara family is not fond of his free wheeling ways with the rules and carry a big stick in committee? Doesn’t he remember the $10,000,000 cap hit the team got slapped with for playing free with the cap rules? Perhaps Jones is intent on matching the Patriots in league punishments? Mystifying, however you can be assured if the Broncos file a tampering charge the writing will be on the wall. What’s a few extra draft picks anyhow? There is the thought in the league (Bill Belichik driven) if you’re not pushing the edge of the rules you’re not competing. Moving on.
After a week of unsuccessfully shopping their veteran QB John Elway and the Broncos held onto Sanchez till the last moment in the hopes of brokering a trade. It never materialized as teams knew he would be cut. 31 teams didn’t blink and Sanchez hit the market. The Philadelphia Eagles front office on the other hand played their cards much closer to the vest and astonishingly were able to turn a strange dearth of QB depth and over payment into a positive coming out of the mix with both a first round and conditional third round pick from the Minnesota Vikings and a QB of the future they announced will be starting once his body heals from the vicious hit he took in the first preseason game and (we’re not finished) a stable, talented veteran QB2 in Chase Daniels. Reportedly Daniels wasn’t too happy about not starting over the rook but in all fairness was he the only guy in the world that didn’t know Wentz would be starting sooner rather than later? #ComeOnMan
The Vikings have to be commended. After the Teddy Bridgwater injury they could have frozen and regressed. Instead they surged ahead and have clearly shown this organization is in it for the win. If you’re a Vikings fan after being crushed with the Teddy Bridgewater news life is good again. You have a very talented team with a dominant running back and a promising head coach at the helm. Now you have potential at the QB position again. Go get em! Just bring duct tape. Bradford is made of glass and will need all the help he can to get through the season. The good news is Adrian Peterson is some of the best duct tape money can but.
All four teams, Broncos, Cowboys, Eagles and Vikings got what they wanted and (seemingly) improved their teams with these final 53 moves. Elway went one more and signed former Browns QB Austin Davis as his QB3. You following? Musical chairs on acid is just getting started.
Your team need talent at RB? Washington cut uber-productive Mack Brown even after his huge final preseason game.
Need some serious veteran help along the offensive line? Green Bay Packers released three-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton who is playing at a high level. This move looks to be cap driven leaving a big time talent on the market.
You have room on your 53 for a developmental WR with huge upside? The Vikings waived German winderkid Moritz Boehringer who they will likely try and sign to their practice squad. The kid has serious size and wheels. You can’t teach that.
The new Cleveland Browns front office continues to amaze and build an unprecedented draft day savings account. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the latest NFL team to send their future to the Browns as Cleveland offloaded former first round bust CB Justin Gilbert for a sixth round pick. This is a good trade for both teams. There was no hiding the bust label for Gilbert. The team got some value and the Steelers get a shot at coaching up a former first round talent at a position they are woefully thin at.
Speaking of Cleveland, remember they had 14 draft picks in this years 2016 NFL Draft? Guess what? All 14 picks made the team. The popular buzz term “reloading versus rebuilding” doesn’t apply in Cleveland. This team is being made from scratch. It needed to. The losing culture had to be wiped out from the top down. It started with the front office and the turnover is almost complete. The club has unbelievable draft capitol with witch to build their team. Well done.
Teams to perennially watch for talented cut players are organizations like the Seahawks whose club is deep and strong. Guys they cut could very well be better than starters on other teams. But talent is being made available league wide as it’s a position thing in the numbers game of final 53 rosters. Teams too deep at a position they were targeting invariably cut talent they either did not have room for or did not properly assess. So keep your eyes on the transaction wires over the next few days as scouts shuffle through the huge array of newly available talent.
The game of NFL style Musical Chairs continues. Next up – Scout Team Twister!
What say you Sports Nation?
Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over