It’s that time of the year again. This week, every NFL team was forced to make their final cuts and trim their roster down to 53 players. With this in mind, there were obviously a lot of surprise cuts around the league, with several coming out of Sin City. One of those involves Darius Phillips. Phillips was shown the exit this week, and his very short tenure with the Las Vegas Raiders is now over. However, did they make the right decision?
The Raiders’ case for releasing Darius Phillips
There are some reasons that support the release of Phillips. First, the Raiders just don’t have enough room on the defensive side of the ball. Las Vegas elected to hold onto five running backs and five wide receivers, which made a significant impact on the roster. With 10 players wrapped up in just two positions, it makes it much harder for players at different positions to make the cut.
Second, the Raiders do have some talent at cornerback already. Nate Hobbs had an exceptional rookie season last year, and he figures to start this time around. The Silver and Black also traded for Rock Ya-Sin this offseason, showing they value him as a starter as well. With Anthony Averett and Sam Webb having strong preseasons, Phillips was the odd man out.
What about the case for keeping Phillips?
With that said, a case can be made that keeping Phillips would have been the right decision after all. On the same day that roster cuts were due, the Raiders traded Trayvon Mullen to Arizona. With Mullen out of the picture, the already thin depth at the cornerback position got even thinner. We all know Josh McDaniels loves to utilize his running backs, but is it really worth risking the depth of the cornerback spot just to carry five of them?
Phillips is a talented player as well, and it’s worth mentioning he may have brought more to the roster than some of the cornerbacks the Raiders chose to keep. Amik Robertson is still young, but he hasn’t shown any serious improvement over his short career. Webb had an impressive preseason, but it may have been a better decision to keep a proven talent like Phillips over an unproven one.
Ultimately, the Raiders should’ve held onto him
With all this information in mind, the right decision would have ultimately been to keep Darius Phillips around. Phillips has proven his worth in the NFL throughout his four-year career, and the combination of keeping five running backs on the roster while having some unproven talent at cornerback just doesn’t seem like a smarter route than keeping Phillips.
*Top Photo: Official Raiders Website