NFC West: NFL Roster Analysis 2013

Seattle Seahawks cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
8:28
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Most significant move: Moving defensive end Chris Clemons off the PUP list and onto the 53-man roster. Clemons, who led the team with 11.5 sacks last year, has been recovering from offseason ACL surgery and has not practiced. But placing him on the active roster means the Seahawks believe he’ll be ready to play sooner than the sixth game of the year.

But the Seahawks still added some insurance on the defensive line by sending Jacksonville a conditional draft pick for defensive end D'Anthony Smith.

Winfield retires: Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sent out a tweet Saturday saying veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield has decided to retire. Winfield, 36, was signed as a free agent in the offseason. He likely would have been released had he not opted to retire. Winfield was a victim of numbers in what may be the deepest secondary in the NFL.

Defensive tackle deletions: The Seahawks surprisingly cut five defensive tackles, including veteran Clinton McDonald and second-year player Jaye Howard. That must mean the coaches are confident that starters Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel (groin injuries) will be OK this week and be ready to play for the opener. It also means they think rookie Jordan Hill's shoulder injury is not as serious as first thought.

What’s next: Watching some of these players -- possible fullback Michael Robinson, tight end Sean McGrath, safety Winston Guy, cornerback Ron Parker and defensive tackles McDonald and Howard -- get picked up by other teams. Look for the Seahawks to try to add rookie Chris Harper, a fourth-round draft choice, to the practice squad if no one claims him.

Two QBs only: Seattle released Brady Quinn, so they will go with two quarterbacks -- starter Russell Wilson and backup Tarvaris Jackson.

They made it: Wide receiver Stephen Williams and rookie defensive end Benson Mayowa, the two biggest surprises of the preseason, both made the 53-man roster. Williams suffered a concussion in the final preseason game, so his status for the opener at Carolina is unknown.

Seahawks cuts: FB: Michael Robinson. QB: Brady Quinn. DT: Sealver Siliga, Michael Brooks, Dewayne Cherrington, Clinton McDonald and Jaye Howard. WR Phil Bates, Chris Harper, Bryan Walters and Arceto Clark. TE: Sean McGrath, Cooper Helfet and Darren Fells. DB: Winston Guy and DeShawn Shead. G: Rishaw Johnson and Ryan Seymour. CB: Ron Parker. LB Ty Powell

Retired: CB Antoine Winfield.

Note: LB/DE Bruce Irvin is on the suspended list for the first four games.

Arizona Cardinals cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
7:02
PM ET
Most significant move: Placing linebacker Daryl Washington on the reserve/suspended list for the first four games was easily the most significant move the Cardinals made, but that was a matter of course. Specific to the roster, Arizona kept only four wide receivers on this initial 53-man roster, an indication the team could remain in the market for a wideout, especially one with the deep speed coach Bruce Arians has sought for his office. Ryan Swope and Mike Thomas were candidates in that area, but concussions forced Swope into early retirement, and Thomas was one of the players Arizona released. The team does have plans to play cornerback Patrick Peterson at receiver, however. We should keep that in mind when looking at the overall numbers at the position.

QB numbers: There had been some thought that the Cardinals might choose between keeping a third quarterback (Ryan Lindley) or a fifth running back (Ryan Williams). Arians had already said Williams was going to stick around. We didn't know whether Lindley would remain on the roster after finishing his 2012 rookie season with zero touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Lindley played well against Denver in the final exhibition game, however, and he wasn't among the players Arizona released on this initial reduction to 53. It's still too early to say whether Lindley has any roster security.

What's next: The Cardinals could be in the market for another interior defensive linemen after the team released nose tackle David Carter. Carter played 272 snaps on defense last season. His status heading into camp appeared somewhat secure based on past playing time. Carter was excited about transitioning to a scheme that he thought would free up defensive linemen to use their talents as pass-rushers. Dan Williams appears to be the only true nose tackle on the roster.

Players cut: OT Jamaal Johnson-Webb, LB Kenny Rowe, DT Padric Scott, WR Kerry Taylor, LB Reggie Walker, S Jonathon Amaya, C Adam Bice, WR Dan Buckner, DT David Carter, TE Alex Gottlieb, WR Charles Hawkins, G Senio Kelemete, LB Zack Nash, LB Colin Parker, TE Richard Quinn, G Chilo Rachal, S Curtis Taylor, WR Mike Thomas

San Francisco 49ers cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
6:35
PM ET
Most significant move: The San Francisco 49ers released long-snapper Brian Jennings eight days before Jennings would have set a franchise record for consecutive games played. Jennings had been with the team since 2000 and was the longest-tenured current 49ers player. Undrafted free agent Kevin McDermott will handle snapping duties heading into the regular season. Coach Jim Harbaugh had called the snapping competition close, an indication the 49ers were thinking about going younger and cheaper at a position that can be taken for granted. Still, there was some shock value to such a longtime player receiving his release. The second-guessing will be justified if McDermott falters. Jennings, 36, was automatic.

Receiver trend:The 49ers had the oldest wide receivers in the NFL by average age before and after teams reduced to the previous 75-man limit. They got younger at the position Saturday by parting with Kassim Osgood, who turned 33 in May and was primarily valued for his contributions on special teams. Anquan Boldin (32), Kyle Williams (25), Jon Baldwin (24), Quinton Patton (23) and Marlon Moore (26) were the five wide receivers sticking on the initial 53-man roster. The mix will change as the season progresses. Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham enter the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Rules allow them to begin practicing between Aug. 15 and Nov. 19. Once they begin practicing, they have 21 calendar days to join the active roster.

What's next: The 49ers will wait for several players to get healthy. Manningham, Crabtree, Tank Carradine, Eric Wright, Marcus Lattimore, Luke Marquardt and Quinton Dial are on the reserve/PUP or reserve/non-football injury lists. None of them counts against the 53-man roster. None can resume practicing before Oct. 15. Lattimore, the running back San Francisco selected in the fourth round this year, isn't expected back until next season. Another player, Demarcus Dobbs, is on the reserve/suspended list for Week 1. Having so many players on reserve lists gives the 49ers some roster flexibility early in the season. The cuts they made Saturday didn't require as many difficult choices as a team with the 49ers' overall roster strength might anticipate otherwise.

Players cut: OT Carter Bykowski, WR Austin Collie, CB Marcus Cooper, TE MarQueis Gray, WR Chad Hall, RB Jewel Hampton, WR Lavelle Hawkins, LB Joe Holland, WR Chuck Jacobs, LS Brian Jennings, LB Travis Johnson, CB Darryl Morris, OG Patrick Omameh, WR Kassim Osgood, NT Mike Purcell, SS Trenton Robinson, FB Jason Schepler, SS Michael Thomas, OG Wayne Tribue, QB Seneca Wallace, OT Kenny Wiggins.

St. Louis Rams cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
6:32
PM ET
There were no real surprises among the 20 Rams released Saturday evening to bring the roster down to the league-mandated total of 53.(Note: The Rams have roster exemptions for suspended running back Isaiah Pead and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, both of whom were placed on the reserve/suspended list.)

Most significant move: Releasing linebacker Josh Hull. It’s not that letting Hull go was a surprise so much as where it leaves the team in his absence.

Removing Hull from the picture, the six linebackers the Rams currently have include four rookies, three of whom are undrafted free agents. Alec Ogletree is an expected starter, but for now is backed up only by rookie free agents Ray-Ray Armstrong, Daren Bates and Jonathan Stewart.

Veteran Dunbar is still around, too, but the Rams have a four-week exemption for his roster spot following his suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead are not afraid to trend younger, but they have left themselves with a quartet of unproven rookies behind veterans James Laurinaitis and Will Witherspoon.

Hull spent three seasons with the Rams, playing in 28 games, with most of that work coming as a core piece on special teams.

Armstrong, in particular, flashed the upside of a future starter, but unless the Rams add another veteran, they’ll go a quarter of the season without experienced depth against teams such as Atlanta and San Francisco.

Keeping Clemens: Last year, the Rams surprised many by cutting veteran quarterback Kellen Clemens in favor of undrafted rookie Austin Davis. Davis played well in the preseason and the Rams were concerned they wouldn’t be able to get him to the practice squad. They had the added benefit of bringing Clemens back after week one, making his contract non-guaranteed. This year, Clemens and Davis competed for the job throughout camp and neither really set himself apart until Clemens’ strong performance in the preseason finale. The Rams opted to release Davis, leaving Clemens as the backup for now and eschewing the chance to execute the same plan as last year.

What’s next? Probably a lot of scouring the waiver wire and looking for more help at the bottom of the roster. Fisher and Snead didn’t hesitate to take advantage of waivers last year, making four roster moves within 48 hours of the initial cut to 53. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if they were equally active this year, though they don’t have the benefit of the No. 2 spot on the waiver wire this time around.

In addition to linebacker, the Rams are light on experience on the offensive line and could look to bolster those areas with some veterans. Backup quarterback and safety are two more positions where they could do some tweaking.

Rams cuts:

QB: Austin Davis FB: Eric Stevens TE: Philip Lutzenkirchen, Zach Potter OL: D.J. Young, Ty Nsekhe (waived/injured), Sean Hooey WR: Nick Johnson, Emory Blake, Justin Veltung DL: Garrett Goebel, Sammy Brown, R.J. Washington, Mason Brodine LB: Josh Hull S: Rashard Hall, Cody Davis CB: Drew Thomas, Andre Martin, Darren Woodard

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