There is always intrigue as the NFL cut-down date approaches and this year is no different as the Las Vegas Raiders are just a day away from making their initial 53-man roster with the deadline looming at 1 p.m. PT Tuesday.
This year, the intrigue may revolve around three veterans who all seemed like locks with the team this season when training camp started late last month.
However in recent days, rumors and speculation have been swirling about wide receiver John Brown, defensive end Clelin Ferrell and safety Karl Joseph. Brown and Joseph were signed this offseason to be key contributors and Ferrell was the No. 4 overall draft pick in 2019.
Our Matt Holder compiled his 53-man roster projections earlier on Monday and he has both Brown and Joseph getting cut ... so the next 24 hours are going to be interesting.
Let’s look at each player’s situation:
The speculation about Brown started to escalate when he played Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers in the preseason finale. Most key contributors didn’t even make the trip from Las Vegas. Raiders coach Jon Gruden downplayed Brown (and Joseph’s) playing time Sunday by simply saying “you got to play somebody.” I was told yesterday that the Raiders are probably leaning toward keeping Brown, who they signed to a one-year $3.75 million deal with a $1.75 million signing bonus this offseason.
Brown, 31, was supposed to fill the big role that Nelson Agholor (who is now with the New England Patriots) had last season with the Raiders. So it would be a pretty big deal if he doesn’t make it. But perhaps Las Vegas opts to keep a young receiver like Dillon Stoner or D.J. Turner.
If teams called the Raiders about John Brown and Cle Ferrell ...— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) August 29, 2021
I would be shocked if Ferrell is cut. Vic Tafur’s above tweet about him potentially being a trade candidate is interesting, though. I think that’s the only way Ferrell is removed from the roster this week. But if he is traded, don’t expect the Raiders to recoup anything near the draft investment may made in Ferrell just two years ago. He was a starter in his first two NFL seasons but is now a backup ... which, of course, is not ideal.
Joseph, who the Raiders drafted with the No. 14 overall draft pick in 2016 and who returned this offseason after he spent one season with a Cleveland Browns, was expected to be a key backup. His playing time on Sunday, though, fueled speculation he could be cut. Maybe Dallin Leavitt, who didn’t play Sunday, beats out Joseph because of special-teams reasons. But I think Joseph’s release would still be a surprise.