It feels like every year there is at least one player who gets cut that most people did not see coming. While a surprise cut is extremely difficult to predict, below I take a stab at who that player might be this year.
Currently there are 90 players on the roster and only 53 will make it to Week 1. Head coach Jon Gruden has shown to be a bit of a wild card, so no player on the Raiders roster should really feel 100 percent safe. For example, Oakland/Gruden traded for, cut and re-signed Martavis Bryant all in one year. While general manager Mike Mayock might bring more stability to the Raiders roster, you can still expect to see at least one cut that is surprising.
Part of the reason why Oakland signed Burfict is because of his history with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. However, the reunion could very well be short lived as Burfict battled injuries and overall just wasn’t the same player he used to be last season. He also turns 29-years-old in September, so age isn’t on his side either.
In free agency, the team also signed Brandon Marshall. Similar to Burfict, the former Broncos linebacker also battled injuries and saw his performance decline, but not quite as significantly. The Raiders also signed Te’von Coney, who was listed as a top ten undrafted free agent signing by Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus. Not only does Burfict have to compete with Marshall and Coney, but also Marquel Lee, Jason Cabinda and Nicholas Morrow, all of who have shown promise in their young careers. Between his age, declining abilities and the competition at linebacker, the connection between Burfict and Guenther might not be strong enough to keep the veteran on the roster.
Out of all the players in this article, Joseph would probably be the most surprising cut. Oakland decided to decline Joseph’s fifth year option and used a first round pick on safety Johnathan Abram, who possesses a very similar skill set to Joseph. The team also gave Erik Harris a contract extension, and signed safeties Lamarcus Joyner, Curtis Riley and Jordan Richards. This leads me to believe that the four-year veteran is not in the team’s future plans in spite of what Gruden claims.
The Raiders might be looking to trade Joseph, but it has been over a month since the draft and he has remained on the roster. A lot can happen between now and cut-down day, so a trade isn’t out of the question, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that the team just decides to move on from Joseph by cutting him.
As much as Kolton Miller struggled last season, Parker wasn’t much better. According to Pro Football Focus, the 65th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft gave up 43 pressures and that was the sixth most for any tackle. The five players at that position who gave up more pressures played in all 16 games while he only played in 13. In response, Gruden and Mayock broke the bank for veteran tackle Trent Brown.
With Brown projecting as the team’s starting right tackle, the coaching staff has been giving Parker reps at guard. If he can learn the position and become an effective guard, he will save his roster spot and potentially his young career.
However, bringing in veteran guard Richie Incognito stiffens the competition at the position. Making matters worse for Parker, the Raiders also have veteran Denzelle Good and rookie Lester Cotton as backup options at left guard. Taking this into consideration, Parker’s best shot to make the 53-man roster might be as a backup tackle. Even in that role, he faces some stiff competition with David Sharpe and Denver Kirkland. While Kirkland is listed as a guard, he played tackle in his final season at Arkansas. Gruden has history of being impatient, so it’s not out of the question that he would want to move on from the former third round pick after one full season.
Of course all of these players will have their shot to prove their worth, but for some of them, the situation they face may be too much to overcome. I’m curious for who you guys think could be a surprise cut, so please comment your thoughts below!
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