Kaye’s Take: Five league-wide observations from NFL final cuts deadline, including awkward trends, market upside

Final cuts have come and gone, but plenty of NFL talent is still out on the market after a busy deadline day to end the preseason.

Tuesday’s 53-man roster deadline provided plenty of headlines as the clock continued to tick down to the NFL’s season opener between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams next week.

While most of the roster moves made sense, others were surprising and even illogical in some instances.

Observations from NFL final cuts deadline

Teams needed to cut their rosters to 53 players ahead of 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The roster shuffling left several veterans looking for work, while the waiver wire became its annual clown car of disregarded young talent.

Here are some overarching observations from the NFL’s final cuts bonanza.

Tight end depth is at a premium

When studying the league’s initial 53-man rosters, the tight end position sticks out like a sore thumb on most depth charts. While several teams have legitimate stars as starters, the depth behind those players is dreadful. And then there are some teams who have a who’s who of who’s who at the position, from top to bottom.

The New York Giants, in particular, are horrifically set up at the position ahead of waiver claims. Daniel Bellinger, Tanner Hudson, and Chris Myarick could eventually develop into worthwhile players, but the Giants aren’t really giving Daniel Jones a safety net as of now.

The Chicago Bears cut James O’Shaughnessy with a non-football illness designation, and now they only have Ryan Griffin and Cole Kmet to count on. The Houston Texans are rolling with the tandem of Brevin Jordan and Pharaoh Brown heading into the claim deadline.

Believe it or not, the New York Jets are one of the few teams stacked at the position, as they plan to field a four-man depth chart featuring Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, Jeremy Ruckert, and receiver-turned-tight end Lawrence Cager, who is one of the better stories of the summer.

While there’s plenty of time to add tight ends to rosters, front offices clearly knew they needed to find better fits through free agency and the waiver wire during final cuts.

Backup QB has become an all-or-nothing position

Gone are the days of Curtis Painter and Rusty Smith. The NFL is clearly putting a magnifying glass on the backup QB spot, and if you’re not showing enough during the summer, you’ll get booted. The Minnesota Vikings dropped former third-round pick Kellen Mond, the Dallas Cowboys cut all three of their backup QBs, and the Detroit Lions rid themselves of David Blough and Tim Boyle, who were competing to be Jared Goff’s backup all summer.

As the Philadelphia Eagles have shown over the past half-decade, the backup QB position is incredibly important and worth investing in. That means teams can’t just let anyone hold the clipboard on their 53-man roster. Naturally, teams finally realize they need the right fits behind their starters.

A lot of intriguing offensive linemen on the market

Teams looking for backup offensive linemen could have some luck on the waiver wire. Players like Jack Anderson, John Leglue, Deonte Brown, Jimmy Morrissey, and Solomon Kindley line the waiver wire with experience and versatility.

Most of those names above can play guard, which is a position that typically gets banged up during the year. If those players make it through waivers unclaimed, they could be key assets on practice squads, especially as they are eligible to be called up for game-day depth.

Post-Week 1 veteran additions should be notable

There were several veterans released during the final cuts. They became immediate free agents and are free to sign anywhere immediately. However, there remains a high probability that their former teammates will look to bring them back after Week 1 to avoid guaranteeing their contracts.

Vested veterans — players with four or more years of accrued seasons — who are on the Week 1 roster have their salaries fully guaranteed for the season. That’s why teams typically try to cut a few veterans to bring them back in Week 2.

Players like Justin Coleman, Logan Ryan, Tevin Coleman, and Tashaun Gipson likely fall in that category.

Trade could still be on the horizon

With 10 days to tinker with rosters before Sunday in Week 1, teams could still look to make some trades ahead of their respective season openers. Sure, the Jets held onto Denzel Mims, and the Eagles kept Jalen Reagor, but those players could still be available.

Remember, the waiver wire claims on Wednesday afternoon could further impact potential trade assets heading into the first week of practice. If the Jets or Eagles claim another wideout, Mims or Reagor could still be sent elsewhere.

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