Cutdown Day’s Most Surprising Moves

cutdown day

One of the biggest questions this offseason was whether or not the 49ers would trade former starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, or would they cut him on Tuesday.

They ended up doing neither, removing the cutdown day drama by signing him to a reworked contract on Monday that serves two goals. It gives him stability, and it gives San Francisco flexibility.

So with Jimmy G off the news wire, there was a thought that we might not see that many surprises. That was a wrong thought to be sure.

Raiders Admit to a Wasted Draft Pick on Cutdown Day

It was the previous Jon Gruden/Mike Mayock regime that drafted offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick a season ago, so current Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler felt no personal ties to him.

That made it easier for them to quit compounding the mistake of the pick by waiving him.

Leatherwood is only 23-years-old, and he is a physical specimen. So no doubt we haven’t heard the last of him in NFL circles. But it will not be in Las Vegas, who have now closed the book on the disappointing first round draft history of Gruden and Mayock.

Clelin Ferrell will never live up to being No. 4 overall, Damon Arnette and Henry Ruggs were both released last season, and now Leatherwood is gone.

According to Cold, Hard Football Facts and their stat called Offensive Hog Index, only the Falcons, Texans, and Saints had worse offensive lines in 2021. That makes the wasted pick of Leatherwood even harder to swallow.

Eagles Swap Safeties

The Eagles got 14 starts from safety Anthony Harris last season, but according to Cold, Hard Football Facts’ Real Quarterback Rating, Philadelphia’s defense ranked just 26th in the NFL.

So Harris got cut, and immediately following that move the Eagles announced a trade with the New Orleans Saints for safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. In exchange the Saints get a fifth round pick next season and sixth round pick in 2024.

Along with playing safety, Gardner-Johnson is also excellent in coverage in the slot, and it’s that versatility that led the Eagles to making the change at the position.

Texans Go All-In on Rookie Running Back

The Texans spent all offseason desperate to improve on last season’s 32nd ranking in Offensive Rusher Rating – Cold, Hard Football Facts unique stat that includes rushing efficiency with touchdowns and lost fumbles.

They signed former Colts running back Marlon Mack back in March, and he was supposed to become the RB1 in Houston after finally getting healthy from an achilles tear that cost him all of 2020.

Instead Mack is a victim of cutdown day, and a victim of the great preseason by fourth round draft pick Dameon Pierce. Pierce is now the guy with the Texans, to be backed up by Rex Burkhead.

Mack is only 26 and has a 1,000-yard season to his credit, so he won’t stay unemployed for long.

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