Predicting the First Roster Cut-Down

Tuesday, Bill Belichick and the rest of the coaching and personnel staff have to make a decision to potentially end the Patriots careers of 5 players. Sept. 4th is the big cut-down to 53 players. Some players can simply be moved to season-ending injured reserve (IR), while some will be looking to latch on with a new team. Of course, it is possible that some cut players could be called upon if there’s a rash of injuries at a position, or called later on when the team puts together its practice squad. But for all intents and purposes, Tuesday’s roster cut-down is not a time players look forward to. I’m going to give it my best guess as to who those 5 unlucky players will be to get cut (or placed on IR). While I have 80 players to choose from, that number is greatly reduced by the guys you know are going to be on the team (Tom Brady, Randy Moss, etc.). First, let’s take a look at those players I think are on the roster bubble, be it due to performance or an abundance of players at a particular position.

On the bubble: could be in or out

  • LB Eric Alexander
  • WR Sam Aiken
  • S Josh Barrett
  • S Sergio Brown
  • TE Carson Butler
  • TE Rob Myers
  • RB Thomas Clayton
  • WR Buddy Farnham
  • LB Dane Fletcher
  • OL Eric Ghiaciuc
  • CB Terrence Johnson
  • OL Ted Larsen
  • S Bret Lockett
  • DL Kyle Love
  • OL Rich Ohrnberger
  • WR Rod Owens
  • DT Darryl Richard
  • QB Zac Robinson
  • S James Sanders (too many safeties and his salary is high)
  • WR Matthew Slater
  • RB Chris Taylor
  • S Ross Ventrone
  • OL Thomas Welch
  • CB Terrence Wheatley
  • CB Jonathon Wilhite
  • LB Thomas Williams
  • CB DeAngelo Willingham
  • LB Pierre Woods
  • G Ryan Wendell
  • CB Kyle Arrington
  • RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
  • RB Laurence Maroney

I was really hesitant to put Maroney on the roster bubble, but he has yet to see any significant time in the preseason. Keep in mind that just because a player may be on the bubble does not mean that I think he’s going to be cut. I also think that there’s a high possibility that a trade or two could happen between now and the final roster cut-down date. S James Sanders and running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Laurence Maroney could all be possible trade bait, along with the team’s extra draft picks, especially if they are targeting a marquee player. Positions the team would look to trade for are defensive end, outside linebacker, and interior linemen.

Finally, here are the 5 moves I expect to be made Tuesday:

  • S Josh Barrett to IR
  • S Bret Lockett to IR
  • RB Thomas Clayton cut
  • TE Carson Butler cut
  • CB Terrence Johnson cut

If the team feels that Nick Kaczur will not be able to make it back this season, he could very well be placed on IR, which would spare one of the 3 cuts at least until Sept. 4. I feel that Belichick needs one more game to evaluate the linebackers and offensive linemen that are on the bubble, while TE Butler and Rob Myers are nearly locks to get cut. I spared Myers for now so that he can give the three tight ends that will make the roster (Alge Crumpler, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez) a rest on the final preseason game against the Giants Thursday night. Clayton and Johnson have been on and off the roster throughout the summer, so they seem to be the most likely to fall victim to the first cut.

I’ll post an update on Tuesday as soon as I can on what roster moves were made, and will include a new 53-man roster projection. To take a look at my last foray into roster projecting, click here.

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