Ranking the five most surprising players released during the 2019 NFL roster cutdown – CBS Sports


The NFL is a brutal business, as it routinely reminds players who are bold enough to think otherwise.

That reality becomes much more prevalent at the end of August each year, when all 32 teams are forced to hack their chunky 90-man roster down to a required head count of 53. This creates a flood of talent into free agency and onto the waiver wire as hundreds of bubbles around the league pop at nearly the same time, and every once in a while — a veteran whom everyone thought relatively safe finds their own jersey caught in the buzzsaw. This year has been no exception, and there were at several surprising roster cuts that range from “what in the world?” to “well, sure, but maybe it was too soon?”

The FFT crew provided instant reaction to the cuts and trades that went down on Saturday. Give a listen below, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts:

Each of these five fall into one of those two categories, or somewhere in-between.

1. LeSean McCoy

This move takes the proverbial cake and then scrapes the box for any residual icing. The Buffalo Bills had contended the entire offseason, and passionately, that McCoy was in their plans going forward. They were so convincing that even newly-signed Frank Gore had proclaimed how ready he was to join McCoy in Buffalo, but that union was short-lived. The six-time Pro Bowl running back and two-time first-team All-Pro is now suddenly without a job, after having been sold a bill of goods in Buffalo. 

He’s already garnering interest from several teams, so the good news for him is he won’t be unemployed for long. McCoy wasn’t exactly himself in 2018, but still boasts two 1,000-yard rushing seasons in the past three years.

2. Jachai Polite 

This one is also a head-scratcher, and for a couple of reasons. First, usually when a player gets selected in the third round of the NFL draft, they’re a lock to make that respective team’s roster. Second, when selecting a pass rusher, it’s pretty common knowledge there’s a learning curve that takes time to absorb, and that’s why most clubs give defensive lineman two or three years before assessing their ceiling in the NFL. The New York Jets could not care less about either of those two tidbits, however, because they cut Polite only four months after grabbing him with a premium pick in April.

This could be a symptom of the Jets ignoring concerns some had regarding Polite going into the draft, but they’ve decided to cut their losses, and early.

3. Keelan Doss

If you’ve tuned into the latest from HBO’s “Hard Knocks”, then you know Doss is one of the feel-good stories that existed within Raiders’ camp. A native of Alameda, CA, the rookie wide receiver went undrafted in April but was set to prove himself for his hometown team this season. He won’t get the chance now, though, with head coach Jon Gruden and new general manager Mike Mayock opting to pass on the 23-year-old for now. It’s likely they’re hoping he clears waivers for the chance at convincing him to sign on their practice squad, but that’s far from certain.

Doss has created quite the name for himself by way of “Hard Knocks” and has enough talent to warrant another team claiming him.

4. Demaryius Thomas

Speaking of players who didn’t get a lot of time to dig his heels in, so to speak, Thomas was let go by the New England Patriots in rather short order — when you consider he signed his one-year-deal with the club back in April. He’s since battled to return to football from a torn Achilles, and was recently removed from the physically unable to perform list. Thomas made his preseason debut for the Patriots in an impressive preseason finale, and had optimism he’d land a spot on the final 53-man unit. 

It was not to be, however, with the 31-year-old now a free agent; in a decision likely fueled by the return of Josh Gordon. If Gordon isn’t back, Thomas may still have a job in Foxboro.

5. Josh Doctson

It’s not completely surprising to know there was contention between Doctson and the Washington Redskins. After all, it’s rumored they had been attempting to trade him since his sophomore season, and despite have used a first-round pick on him the year before. Doctson himself battled an Achilles injury that severely hampered his rookie year, but proved himself a solid rotational piece in a downright questionable Redskins’ wide receiver room. The problem was he didn’t produce to the level of a first-round pick, and Washington continued to look for trade partners up until the NFL roster deadline neared.

In the end, none of the other 31 teams bit the hook, so the Redskins simply cut the fishing line entirely.

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