The biggest news of final cuts actually came on Monday, when we awoke to Leonard Fournette’s release. We got to obsess about the fallout from that in Jacksonville and then the ripple effect and future of the backfield in Tampa, where he was signed after clearing waivers. The rest of final cutdowns only produced mild surprises, although there are often aftershocks from final cutdowns that topple something that looked shaky, but survived after the visits from the turk, so keep your head on a swivel
Washington released Adrian Peterson, Detroit signed Adrian Peterson
Why It Matters: Peterson was seen as the ceremonial starter after Derrius Guice’s release, and probably first in line at the goal line. He said Antonio Gibson was a hell of a talent and that Washington thinks they have found the “one main guy”. There are some excellent wide receivers on the board in the fifth round, but Gibson now becomes compelling enough to consider there, especially after so many mid-round running backs lost value this year. Bryce Love made the team and could get a longer look if the inexperienced Gibson doesn’t click as a runner after barely touching the ball in college (77 touches, but 14 touchdowns). It won’t be surprising to see Peterson somewhere after Week 1, if not before. The Lions commitment to RBBC remains undefeated as Peterson immediately joined them to even further lower the ceilings of Kerryon Johnson and D'Andre Swift. The signing could be about the confidence level in Johnson, Swift, Bo Scarbrough, or two or even all three of them.
Tampa Bay released Dare Ogunbowale
Why It Matters: Ogunbowale was a special teams captain and third-down specialist. This increases the chance of LeSean McCoy being relevant in PPR leagues this year even though the signing of Fournette lowered his ceiling. Ogunbowale should be on the shortlist of street free agent backs.
Jacksonville put Ryquell Armstead on the COVID reserve list
Why It Matters: 2019 UDFA Devine Ozigbo and 2020 UDFA James Robinson will get the first crack at the early-down touches with Chris Thompson in for passing situations with Armstead back on the COVID reserve list, which is an ominous development since he spent three weeks on there to open camp. Stay tuned, as the team is having Devonta Freeman in for a visit.
New England released Lamar Miller and Mohamed Sanu
Why It Matters: It sounds like Miller still needs more time to get back into form after ACL surgery. This isn’t a surprising cut after Sony Michel was able to get off of the PUP list before camp closed. Sanu will go down as one of the worst trades ever, cut because of nondescript camp that didn’t merit a 6.5 million dollar deal. Damiere Byrd may get the first chance at #3 wide receiver snaps behind Julian Edelman and N’keal Harry. He played with Cam Newton at Carolina and could become the primary deep threat.
Cleveland kept Stephen Carlson and Pharaoh Brown
Why It Matters: After a standout camp from fourth-round pick Harrison Bryant, the Browns currently have five tight ends. It seems logical that they will try to recoup whatever they can for David Njoku, although there’s an outside chance that they keep five tight ends on the roster with the prominent role of the position in the offense.
Kansas City released DeAndre Washington
Why It Matters: Seen as the favorite to open camp as the #2 behind Clyde-Edwards Helaire, Washington will be on the speed dial street free agent list but he won’t figure into the RBBC behind Edwards-Helaire, which will have only Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson for now.
Las Vegas traded Lynn Bowden Jr and a sixth-round pick to Miami for a fourth-round pick and released Theo Riddick
Why It Matters: Devontae Booker and Jalen Richard are the last men standing behind Josh Jacobs after the Raiders gave up on their third-round pick for a two-round bump on the third day of the 2021 draft, replacing the fourth-round pick they had just traded to Miami for Raekwon McMillan. The Raiders wanted to make a running back out of the former quarterback and slot receiver, who the Dolphins reportedly see as a receiver, which could hurt Mike Gesicki’s ceiling as he could face new long term competition for snaps and targets in the slot, but could also eventually face the same fate as the last reclamation project Miami traded for, Josh Rosen, who was released this week.
Philadelphia released Elijah Holyfield, Michael Warren, and Adrian Killins
Why It Matters: Only Boston Scott and Corey Clement remain behind Miles Sanders, which is both a strong indication that the Eagles indeed see Sanders hamstring injury as minor and a huge vote of confidence in Scott after his strong finish last year and Clement who released at the end of the season.
Washington released Trey Quinn
Why It Matters: Steven Sims Jr. had a terrific December and now he should have no competition for slot targets on a team that will probably pass a lot more than they did last year. He becomes an even more prominent late-round target, especially in PPR leagues.
Chicago released Artavis Pierce
Why It Matters: David Montgomery is questionable at best for Week 1, so we could see Ryan Nall and Cordarrelle Patterson take some early-down work along with a heavier workload for Tarik Cohen against Detroit. The UDFA Pierce could also be re-signed before or after Week 1 if Montgomery’s groin is worse than expected or re-injured.
Carolina released Reggie Bonnafon
Arizona released Hakeem Butler
Why It Matters: It doesn’t really for redraft leagues since Andy Isabella had already seized the #4 role, but Butler was a highly-rated prospect by some that fell to the fourth round last year. The Cardinals took him with the first pick of the round, but Butler failed to make an impact and was deemed expendable.
Los Angeles Rams released John Kelly
Why It Matters: Kelly could have kept as the fourth back, but UDFA Xavier Jones made it instead. Darrell Henderson’s hamstring might not be ready for Week 1, so Jones could get some touches. He’s a darkhorse name to file away in dynasty leagues if Cam Akers bombs this year.
Tampa released Matt Gay
Indianapolis released Chase McLaughlin
LA Rams released Austin MacGinnis and Lirim Hajrullahu
Tennessee released Greg Joseph
NY Jets released Brett Maher
Chicago released Cairo Santos
New England released Justin Rohrwasser and Nick Folk
Why It Matters: Congratulations to former Mr. Irrelevant Ryan Succop (Tampa Bay), seventh-round pick Sam Sloman (Rams), Rodrigo Blankenship (Colts), Sam Ficken (New York Jets), Stephen Gostkowski (Tennessee), Eddy Pineiro (Bears). Succop landed in a valuable spot last year for a kicker, and Blankenship could become relevant in a good offense on a winning team. Gostkowski was valuable with New England, but the Titans only tried 17 field goals last year. They may try more with a veteran kicker, but don’t draft Gostkowski on name-brand value. Ficken and Sloman may yet be replaced and could be on short leashes after winning uninspiring kicker battles in a summer without preseason games. Eddy Pineiro didn’t kick in camp, but the Bears deemed him healthy enough for Week 1. Bill Belichick has something up his sleeve at kicker, get out your popcorn.