Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Sep 2005

Cuts o' Plenty

Let's see if we can do a quick roundup of the biggest cuts from yesterday's 53-man roster deadline. The Pats cut WR David Terrell. The Eagles cut DE Hugh Douglas and FB Jon Ritchie. The Chiefs ditched fourth-rounder Craphonso Thorpe, and headline writers wept. The Jags cut Fuamatu-Ma'afala, and spell-checkers cheered. San Francisco cut former top Denver pick CB Willie Middlebrooks. Miami cut RB Lamar Gordon, and Denver cut RB Quentin Griffin (following PFP's advice). Oakland cut DE Anttaj Hawthorne (so much for that supposed sixth-round steal) and TE Teyo Johnson (ACHTUNG! Courtney Anderson now has roto sleeper status). Pittsburgh cut fourth-round wideout Fred Gibson, who was beaten out for a spot by Official FO Favorite Player Sean Morey. Carolina cut third-round DT Attiyah Ellison. (Do this many mid-level picks usually get cut? Including Clarett, that's two third-rounders and two fourth-rounders who couldn't even make their teams this year.)

Also Peerless Price signed in Dallas, and the Colts did more front seven strengthening by trading a draft pick to Tennessee for LB Rocky Calmus. Jerry Rice made the Broncos but has been un-promoted back down to fifth wide receiver and may retire.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 04 Sep 2005

43 comments, Last at 07 Sep 2005, 12:33pm by Ryan Mc


by Glenn (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 11:30am

David Terrell cut.

Somewhere, Ron Borges is crying.

by BillinNYC (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 11:49am

PFP '05 Comment on Quentin Griffin: "From 2000 through 2004, 15 different running backs carried the ball...for the Denver Broncos. Out of those 15, the lowest DVOA belongs to Quentin Griffin in 2004. The second lowest is Quentin Griffin in 2003.... Why is Denver still futzing around with this guy?"

Question answered. Good call.

by Tim L (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 12:37pm

I was hoping the Cowboys were going to pass on Price. The second lowest DPAR of any of the regular receivers in the league last year? Rumors of being a negative influence in the Falcons clubhouse? Good grief.

The only consolation I can take from the deal is that maybe, as a third or fourth receiver, he will get more favorable secondary matchups than as a lead receiver for the Falcons. His DPAR in 2002 was excellent when he was playing second fiddle to Eric Moulds.

by Vote for Kalas (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 12:51pm

As an Eagle fan, losing Hugh and Ritchie was tough, but clearly Hugh's age showed and Ritchie's knee was not healthy...we have Josh Parry at FB until Tapeh possibly returns healthy..5th round pick Trent Cole and a team cut Juqua Thomas backup Kearse & Kalu at DE...we also picked up McCants at WR for depth and size...

by Theo (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 2:56pm

I hate to say this, but I think the Cryboys are going to be good this year.
Real good.

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 3:02pm

I hope Bledsoe does well...he's a classy guy...it'd be nice to see a lil resurrection. I also like the Colt's move for Rocky Calmus...seems like a good player. Colts getting defensive players? Brilliant! *clink*

by Sean (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 3:58pm

Yes, this year has been unusually ill as far as teams cutting their own draft choices goes. I'm glad to see it, honestly, as it means that coaching staffs aren't going to let highly drafted players slip by without earning their spot. It also happens to make for good times guessing who is going to end up on what team's practice squad. I know I wouldn't mind seeing the Jets take a run at Hawthorne and Fred Gibson.

by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 4:00pm

No 1 story on the Eagles web site:-
Eagles pick up Lamar Gordon and waive Bruce Perry

No 2 story on the Eagles web site:-
Bruce Perry interview discussing how delighted he is to make the team.

It's a cruel business.

by Steven Cummings (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 4:31pm

I'm shocked and saddened to see that the Seahawks cut WR Taco Wallace.

by Vote for Kalas (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 5:24pm

#5- How are the Cowboys going to be real good? Bledsoe is their QB, they have nothing behind Jones at RB, their WR are mediocre(Price was cut by ATL for production & attitude issues), their OL FA Rivera is still hurt, Rogers their OT is hurt and they have little depth...their D overall is better, but switching to a hole new scheme is tough and the secondary that got ripped last year is still suspect IMO...Newmann IMO is over-rated and Henry is mediocre.

by Vote for Kalas (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 5:26pm

#5- How are the Cowboys going to be real good? Bledsoe is their QB, they have nothing quality behind Jones at RB, their WR are mediocre(Price was cut by ATL for production & attitude issues), their OL FA Rivera is still hurt, Rogers their OT is hurt and they have little depth...their D overall is better, but switching to a hole new scheme is tough and the secondary that got ripped last year is still suspect IMO...Newmann IMO is over-rated and Henry is mediocre.

by Tim L (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 5:49pm

I doubt they'll be real good, but I think you're kidding yourself on how glaring are their weaknesses. They look to have picked up several excellent rookies this year, and that should create depth on their defensive line and something approaching a pass rush, which they've not had in almost a a decade.

And it looks like you're not paying close attention to their personnel moves. Rivera played in their final preseason game and will start next week; Jacob Rogers was cut a few weeks ago and replaced by rookie Rob Petitti, who played well in the preseason.

by Vote for Kalas (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 6:20pm


Thank you for the corrections. As an Eagles fan, I am bred to detest Dallas, but they make it very easy on us too...they will be at best 9-7 this year..they have too many holes and if they have any injuries to Jones or Witten, they are done IMO...they just have no serious weapons beyond those two and their D, while improved like I said, has a supsect secondary and in a passing league that is not good especially with the Eagles in your division....we crushed them last year and I do not see anything different this year...glad to hear Rivera is back, no pun intended, but I am sure he will be injured again shortly...:D Jerry is slightly better than Snyder, but that is definiely faint praise!!

by idiot (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:11pm

i)Bledsoe is an upgrade at QB
ii)Jones was injured last year and looks likely to have a huge year. I think Dallas is deep at RB personally.
iii)the OL is solid and Rivera will help
iv)the defense has a number of additions such as Henry, Ferguson, Glenn. In addition DeMarcus Ware looks like the real deal
v)they have an easy schedule in the weaker conference

Newman is going to be fine, he was much better the second half of last year. The secondary has gone from a weakness to a strength.

by Tim L (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:15pm

"Jerry is slightly better than Snyder, but that is definiely [sic] faint praise!!"

I was hoping you wouldn't remind me.

by MarkB (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:59pm

The Colts need to trade a draft pick for a portable dome to travel with them.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 8:11pm

I'm tired of hearing about Jerry Rice. Yeah, he was the GOAT. But he isn't anymore. Either play or don't play, Jerry. I don't really care which. But decide already.

by Miles (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 10:45pm

Re: [Philadelphia] crushed them [Dallas] last year and I do not see anything different this year
I like your definition of crush: a 12-7 come from behind win with a touchdown in the last 2 min.

by GJA (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 11:54pm

My main worry about the cowboys roster is that they literally do not have anyone backing up either safter position.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 12:45am

I’m tired of hearing about Jerry Rice. Yeah, he was the GOAT. But he isn’t anymore. Either play or don’t play, Jerry. I don’t really care which. But decide already.

I hate it when celebrities don't do exactly what I wish they would do. It's an infuriating world we have to live in.

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 1:04am

I like your definition of crush: a 12-7 come from behind win with a touchdown in the last 2 min.

I think he meant the Week 10 game, when the Eagles broke the record for most points scored by a visiting team at Texas Stadium. Still, point taken.

by Vote for Kalas (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 1:24am

idiot(I hope not your real name)-

Bledsoe an upgrade over Vinny? Sure, but so is my great aunt...lol...who is his backup in case of injury? Bledsoe has a long history of injury, cannot move and panics when rushed hard...

I like Jones...as I said he and Witten are your two weapons...that is it...MeShawn, Glenn and Price are mediocre WR...Barber, a rook, and Thomas are not great depth at RB IMO....better than Eddie George though I guess...lol..

I see Allen, Adams, Gurode, Petitti and Rivera...with backups named Tucker, Noll, Peterman and Johnson...Rivera is 32 and has had a vast injury history...I mean he has had two injuries just getting through camp and preseason...precarious IMO...

The defense is better as I said...Ferguson is a good addition and the 3-4 switch is a good idea especially with Spears and Ware being added...but IMO it will take time to adjust and the Cowboys do not really have all the pieces yet to play that scheme well...you need a very good secondary and IMO they overpaid Henry and Newmann has been less than expected...he had a terrible year last year v. the pass...who are the backup safeties and who starts opposite Williams? Sorry I do not see strength here...lol..you also need great DE and I do not see those on your team...

An easier schedule? The AFC West is not easy and playing Philadelphia 2X will hurt...plus they play Carolina, STL and Seattle...I see at best 9 wins...


Did you forget the beat down we laid on you in your house? Remember 14 seconds? Remember TO standing on your star? I think the score was 49-21? yes the second game was much closer especially after Williams horse collared TO from behind...got tired of chasing him I guess...Dallas played better in the second game for sure, but we still won.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 4:18am

The Patriots cut David Terrell, proving that even they make mistakes. Somehow I don't think a single talk show host in America will acknowledge it, though. They'll be too busy pointing out that Clarett got cut, and that Shanahan makes mistakes.

Of course, they'll also conveniently forget to mention how Denver traded Willie Middlebrooks for a quality defensive lineman, only to watch as Willie Middlebrooks got cut from his new team. Something tells me that that little tidbit will also get overlooked.

I'd love to see Denver bring Middlebrooks back in again- both because they're a little thin at CB, and because how awesome would that be? Trade a guy, then pick him right back up off of waivers. Maybe they'll be able to trade him again this season!

I have to say, I was surprised to see Denver cut Terry Pierce. They rarely miss on LBs in the draft, and everything I heard about him was good, such as how he was the primary backup at all 3 LB positions. For a while, he was supposed to be the heir apparent to Al Wilson. Then out of nowhere, he's off the squad.

by Tim L (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 9:53am

One thing I would love to see is a draft pick history. Maybe it's been mentioned here before and I missed it. For example, what are the odds of a second round pick making the team his rookie year? What is his average career length, after adjusting for position played? What are the odds of him making at least one Pro Bowl? And so on. There would obviously be plenty of variation, but I am curious about the general trend.

by Malene, DK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 9:54am

hm... why does the "team X made a mistake" card even get played?

Shanahan took what in all likelyhood was a calculated risk, knowing that Clarett at some point in his life had 1st-2nd round talent, taking a chance on being able to bring it out. Ok, it didn't pan out, but how's that a mistake?

Terrell came at a favorable price, and was well worth the gamble considering even the slightest chance of Brady and Terrell finding that connection.

IMO it doesn't 'prove' that the Pats make mistakes, though it does prove that they don't have supernatural luck in developing talent. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Rarely does a poker commentator say, 'Well he went all in with aces against 3s, but a 3 came up, so he made a mistake'. Why do NFL-reporters? Look at the odds and the price, then judge the decision.

by Tim L (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:04am

And for the record, I think Jerry Rice can take all the time he wants to decide what to do with his career. In this era of tantrum-prone, infantile wide receivers, he has almost always been a consumate professional. He's the greatest wide receiver of all time, depending on where one places Don Hutson. If anyone has earned the right to leave the game on his terms, it's Jerry Rice.

by idiot (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:14am

Vote for Kalas: I think the Cowboys will go 10-6 or 11-5, so we are not that different in our estimation. But I think they have the potential to do well in the playoffs. By the way, they are not my team, I don't support them, I am just picking them for a four/five game turnaround this year.

I get what you say about depth but your idea of why Dallas is poor hinges on injuries occurring (Bledsoe, the O-line, backup RBs, safeties). You call the WRs mediocre. I call them a solid group mixing possession and stretch-the-field. In fact the whole offense is solid, the only major weakness I see being RT.

Yeah they overpaid Henry, and Rivera and Ferguson for that matter - so what? We're discussing how they will be a better team this year, that's of no concern. No.2 corner was a major trouble spot for them last year. With Glenn and Henry, that spot will be substantially upgraded, not to mention their nickel packages. You talk about backup safeties - are the Dallas backup safeties so much worse than the NFL average?

I don't claim encyclopaedic knowledge of their backups and depth, but at least in starting terms they look like a team with a very solid offense and a potential top-10 defense to me. IIRC they had something like the 26th-ranked schedule by difficulty this year based on 2004 results.

by Tim L (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 11:53am

It sounds like Four Downs: NFC East is a good place to move the "how good will Dallas be this year" discussion.

by Adam (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 1:19pm

Technically, Nate Washington beat Fred Gibson for the Steelers roster spot as Sean Morey was going to be on the team regardless.

Nate Washington by the way just turned 20 years of age two weeks ago.



by Pat on the Back (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 2:16pm

How is it possible that we have made it to the 29th post without one person make a "Groening, cut, Simon, cut, Namath... you can stay" joke?

by Patrick Bateman (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 2:23pm

re: #23
The differene between the Patriots' mistake with Terrell and the Broncos' mistake with Clarett are worlds apart. Terrell only cost NE some money--an investment that didn't pay off, but IIRC it's nothing significant. They won't even notice it next year.
Denver, on the other hand, invested a 3rd round draft pick. Invested? I'm sorry, tossed away a 3rd round draft pick on a guy nobody else had much real confidence in. I think it's pretty obvious by now that failing to maximize the returns on your draft picks is a recipe for disaster, so it's fair on these grounds to lambast the Broncos for what amounts to blowing a foolish gamble. The mistakes are of far different magnitudes.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 4:47pm

Did anyone notice that Philly signed Lamar Gordon to "solve" their running-back problem? Does Gordon (or his agent) have disturbing pictures of Andy Reid cached away somewhere? Philly fans, I feel your pain. As a 'fins fan, I had to watch this loser last year. It's possible some backs hit the hole later, but most of them probably don't stop running at first contact. Good luck!

by Ruben (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 6:51pm

My Eagles also cut Norm Heuer, former Michigan DT, and one helluva guy. Check the link on my name for a touching story about him (heard it every year watching UM games).

Does anyone know what these guys do when they get cut in the preseason? The guys who are re-signed to the pros after being "out of football?" It isn't like basketball, where they can join developmental or USBL-type leagues.

Also, the practice squad is always mentioned, but isn't that only a passing league-type organization, with a couple receivers, an RB, a QB and some DBs? Always wondered what, exactly the "practice squad" entailed...wouldn't you want to practice your starters against a "good" opponent? Even in high school, we hit up on a mix of 1st and 3rd stringers...

by Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 8:49pm

re 22
"Bledsoe has a long history of injury"
He does? Before the injury he had a game started streak that was exceeded only by Brett Favre and he's started every game since the start of the 2002 season. Bledsoe bashing is en vogue but he has a pitiful coach in Gregg Williams (and one not much better in Mularky) and a poor offensive line (the 25th rank from football outsiders is generous). If you use Bledsoe correctly he can still be an effective QB (as his preseason stats[25/37 278 2 TD] suggest).

by Tyler (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 2:05am

Does anybody know where to find official lists of who was signed to what teams practice squad without going back and forth to each individual teams website? For example, I saw that the Steelers didn't sign Fred Gibson to their practice squad, and I was curious where he ended up at.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 10:19am

Re #30: Good practice, kids. Now its time for the easiest part of any coach's job.
The cuts. Although I wasn't able to cut everyone I wanted to, I have cut a
lot of you. Wendell is cut. Rudy is cut. Janey, you're gone

by Yaxley (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 1:26pm

I can't believe with all this talk about Sean Morey being the Official FO Favorite Player that no one linked to the nice article the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did on him (click my name).

by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 3:19pm

Count me amongst those that feels that Bledsoe is a victim of overcorrection. For most of the '90s he was (rightly) considered to be one of the best QB's in the league. Many were shocked that Brady replaced and exceeded Bledsoe's accomplishments. Then the bashing began. For 2005, Bledsoe still has to be considered one of the top 15 or 20 QB's in the NFL.

by Jets Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 4:11pm

One thing I'd like an answer on -- do the receivers in Dallas stink ?? I figured they have one of the wporst receiving corp in the NFL, am I wrong? Is Keyshawn better than I give credit for? Like I said, I think those guys clearly stink ... correct me if I'm wrong ...

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 6:11pm

Re #35.

Gibson signed to the Dolphins practice squad. Presumably Saban knows a little bit about him.

Both Thorpe and Ellison signed on with their draftee team's practice squad.

Steelers signed Quincy Morgan as well.

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 7:19pm

RE #35: I'm not sure about the official lists, but Ourlads Scouting Service has very up to date depth charts that include practice squads, NFLE allocations and IR lists.

I'm not a Cowboys fan and I never will be. In fact, I have a vested interest in seeing them lose in week 1. However, I think they are going to be tough. No one is asking Bledsoe to be Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, so as long as he's healthy he'll be good. From what I saw in preseason the Boys' D looks to be very athletic and intent on making plays. Something last year's D sorely lacked. On offense they remind me a lot of my chargers. Competent QB, that make some big plays, a dynamic RB, a solid line including a run blocking machine at LG, a superior TE and many average WRs. No one believes they will unseat the Eagles, but a 10 win season is definitely not out of reach, whereas 4-6 seems pretty unlikely.

by Steve (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 9:27pm

The only way Dallas will have a winning season is if the NFL rules committee enacts the "5 Mississippi" rule for rushing the passer. Bledsoe has always choked when he's put under any pressure and there's no reason to believe that he can learn how to be composed in the pocket this late in his career.

by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Wed, 09/07/2005 - 12:33pm

re #29: how does a guy get to play with an NFL team at age 19? Didn't we just go through this whole deal with Maurice Clarett? I thought you had to be a certain age/number of years out of high school before you could get into the NFL.