One of the most exciting parts about the NFL offseason is the molding of the 53-man roster each team has to narrow down to. Usually, every team has a few emerging players who seem like they may be able to crack the 53 man roster, while they have some established players who could surprisingly be released in favor of one of those young stars.
Let’s take a look at five shocking roster cuts that could potentially happen this offseason.
Jason Pierre-Paul, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This move may come as a surprise, but it does make quite a bit of sense. The Buccaneers are going to need to make some budget cuts where they can afford to do so, and the defensive end position is one of those areas for them.
The Buccaneers just drafted defensive end Joe Tryon out of Washington in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and he could step in and take over Pierre-Paul this upcoming season if he were to be released. Pierre-Paul has been outstanding for the Bucs, but considering he only has one year left on his contract and is 32 years old, moving on from him could be a logical option this offseason.
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
The addition of Christian Kirk on this list could come as a bit of a surprise, but also that’s kind of the point. All jokes aside, the Cardinals moving on from Kirk would make a lot of sense when you consider his current circumstance.
Arizona brought in Deandre Hopkins at his position last season to team with Larry Fitzgerald and the team gave wide receiver Andy Isabella an increased role over Kirk. This offseason, the team retained Isabella and Hopkins while adding Rondale Moore in the NFL Draft and AJ Green in free agency. Kirk has been extremely underwhelming as a member of the Cardinals and the fact that he has one year left on his contract and it’s loaded with performance based bonuses could give the Cardinals more of a reason to let go of the receiver.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance are in a bit of a quarterback battle in camp this offseason, but it’s looking like the team is leaning towards embarking on a new journey with Lance under center. The 49ers would likely prefer to trade Garoppolo, but if they are unable to a release could be more likely.
The 49ers have some good quarterback depth behind Lance in Nick Mullens and Josh Rosen and the release of Garoppolo could make a lot of sense. Garoppolo won’t want to sit behind Lance and could prefer to go to a team that he could compete on like the Patriots or Texans.
Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles
Jason Kelce was likely already going to be released if the Eagles didn’t restructure his contract, but he could still wind up being released anyways due to a series of circumstances. The Eagles recently drafted center Landon Dickerson in the second round of the NFL Draft and he is widely regarded as the best center to come out of the draft this year.
Dickerson was an anchor on the Alabama offensive line in 2020 and the Eagles could look to give him a starting gig from the get-go. Kelce only has one year left on his deal and he’s entering his age 33 season, which makes leaning towards the youngster make a lot of sense.
Taven Bryan, Jacksonville Jaguars
Taven Bryan was a first-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 2018, but he shouldn’t have sniffed anywhere near the first round. Bryan, a 25-year-old defensive tackle, has not come close to meeting the expectations of being a first-round draft pick and he could be a likely release candidate this offseason.
In three years with the Jaguars, Bryan has accumulated just 71 total tackles and 3.5 sacks without missing a single game. Those numbers just aren’t going to cut it anymore, especially not with Urban Meyer as head coach. The Jaguars brought in Malcom Brown who they traded for from the Saints to potentially replace him, and that could be the writing on the wall for Taven Bryan.