Teams around the NFL were busy on Saturday making dozens of moves to make their 53-man roster. While plenty of moves were expected, some were downright shocking.
Our focus is primarily on cuts, where the most significant changes occurred. Sometimes it’s the recent high draft pick who the fan base and front office had high expectations for, but ultimately the player never made an impact. There are also the surprising cuts of veterans who have been difference makers for much of their careers.
Surprising moves made by front offices don’t just stop at cuts. Often times, it’s the roster moves they don’t make that leave everyone surprised.
Here are the 10 most stunning moves around the NFL.
Denver Broncos keep first-round bust Paxton Lynch
Everyone makes mistakes. What matters is the ability to admit when you were wrong, learn from the error and then move on from it.
John Elway refuses to admit he screwed up. Lynch, who Denver selected No. 26 overall in 2016, remains on Denver’s roster. The Broncos are settled at the quarterback position with Case Keenum and Chad Kelly, and Lynch brings no added value to this team. By wasting a roster spot with his presence, Elway refuses to acknowledge his poor decision and learn from it.
Buffalo Bills throw in the towel on Corey Coleman
When the Cleveland Browns drafted Coleman No. 15 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, expectations were sky high for his potential in the NFL. Three years later, Coleman finds himself unemployed.
The 24-year-old had an opportunity in Buffalo. Cleveland traded its former first-round pick to the Bills, a team with one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. Despite the new opportunity, Coleman finished his tenure in Buffalo with one catch for seven yards.
When you can’t even land a spot on one of the worst depth charts in football, it speaks volumes about the player. Perhaps Coleman will receive another opportunity, but there’s no longer a reason to think he ever becomes an impact player.
San Francisco 49ers make costly cut to offensive line
While Jonathan Cooper should be used to being cut at this point, San Francisco invested a $2 million signing bonus into him this offseason. On a depth chart loaded with question marks, Cooper failed to make a positive impression.
Given the need for interior offensive line depth across the NFL, some team will probably scoop Cooper up. He saw extended time with the Dallas Cowboys in 2017, so perhaps they are a potential landing spot to watch. One thing is for certain, the former No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft is a major bust.
New England Patriots waive former second-round pick
For as much success as the Patriots have had, Bill Belichick’s history of draft picks continues to take a hit. Three years after New England drafted cornerback Cyrus Jones with a second-round pick, it has now cut ties with him.
An NFL career that started off with him routinely being burned as a rookie before tearing his ACL in 2017 now presents an uncertain future. Thanks to his ability as a returner, Jones will likely find an opportunity within the next few days. For New England, this will go down as another high draft pick that failed miserably.
Minnesota Vikings say goodbye to Brian Robison after 11 seasons
One of the most beloved players in Minnesota, Robison gave everything to the city and his team. After 11 seasons with the Vikings, Robison was shown the door on Saturday with his release.
The 35-year-old played whatever role the Vikings asked of him, including a more limited role last season. He finished the year with four sacks and agreed to take a pay cut earlier in the offseason, but ultimately it didn’t matter. While he is in the final stage of his NFL career, plenty of teams will likely pursue him as an experienced rusher to add to the team.
Green Bay Packers give up on a beloved player in Wisconsin
When Green Bay drafted the Vince Biegel pass rusher in 2017, fans across Wisconsin lit up with joy over the Wisconsin Badgers linebacker. A team that desperately needed more pass rushers found a player many believed was a steal in the fourth round.
Fast forward a year later and Biegel now finds himself unemployed. The 25-year-old linebacker played in just nine games last season and failed to record a sack. Green Bay gave him more chances in the preseason, but he failed to make an impact once again. Unable to crack a roster for a team that needed pass rushers, Biegel’s chances in the NFL are clearly dwindling.
Philadelphia Eagles cut potential heir to Darren Sproles
Labeled as the next Darren Sproles, expectations were immediately high for Donnel Pumphrey as a fourth-round pick in 2017. An explosive playmaker, fans envisioned a dangerous weapon out of the backfield.
He spent his rookie season on injured reserve, then found himself far behind on the depth chart to start the preseason. Ultimately, he only played in Philadelphia’s final preseason game and didn’t prove enough to stick around. The 5-foot-7 running back might have to hope for a spot on an NFL practice squad.
Cincinnati Bengals cut former star defensive end
After Cincinnati signed Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap to extensions, the front office needed to clear cap space. While his teammates landed more money, Michael Johnson found himself without a job, in large part thanks to the emergence of Carl Lawson.
The Bengals saved nearly $5 million by parting ways with the former top pass rusher. Johnson is only 31 and while he isn’t close to the same player who recorded 11.5 sacks in 2012, he can be a situational rusher for several teams in need.
Bo Scarbrough fails to make Dallas Cowboys roster
A former five-star recruit, people were hopeful Scarbrough could work things out in the NFL after a disappointing career at the University of Alabama. The Cowboys took a chance on him in the 2018 NFL Draft, but they cut him on Saturday.
Scarbrough averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in the preseason, and lower-body injuries further diminished his chances of making the roster. Perhaps a role on the practice squad is in his future, but that’s the best possible outcome at this point for Scarbrough.
Kansas City Chiefs give up on David Amerson
After Kansas City traded Marcus Peters, the front office was hopeful Amerson could step into a larger role and rediscover the shutdown ability he showed in 2015.
The Chiefs saw enough of Amerson in training camp and the preseason and cut him on Saturday. Now Kansas City’s depth at cornerback is razor thin and its secondary could become a major point offenses seek to exploit this season. As for Amerson, he should find work before the regular season kicks off.