Doesn’t seem like there’s a mock roster update for this week, so I’ll throw one out there.
Some key moves I’m projecting:
Cut Agholor (saves $4.9m; can jump to $6m if he has offsets and signs a min deal elsewhere).
Cut Henry Anderson (he's on a 1-year minimum base salary deal) and hope he signs to the PS for the first 2-3 weeks, despite that meaning he loses his roster bonuses. The calculated gamble is that nobody will offer him more than the minimum anyways, so he can be PS stashed for a couple weeks (and called up on game-days as depth) with the promise of being signed back to the roster 2-3 weeks later -- with his roster bonuses back in place.
Cut Carl Davis and Terrance Mitchell (similar 1-yr min contracts) and place on the PS in similar fashion. They also have roster bonuses that the team would reinstate if they eventually get back on the 53. Again, the key is whether they think another team would offer anything better; if not, then this is one way to generate extra roster spots in weeks 1-3 for developmental prospects that you don't want to expose to waivers. The key is that all three are vested veterans (not subject to waivers) on minimum salaries.
Send Perkins and McGrone to IR, similar to Keene and Jennings last year. According to most analysis I’ve read, neither seems ready – Perkins has been invisible as a rusher (and too small as a run-stopper) and McGrone is generally out of place or a step late, leading to lots of tackles too far downfield. Cutting them and hoping they go unclaimed is another option.
Italics = projected game-day inactive; there are 8 inactives to account for 3 game-day PS call-ups (i.e., 56-8 = 48-man game-day rosters). I include inactives to get a sense of what game-day depth at each position would actually look like in an injury-free week 1.
QB (3): Mac, Hoyer, Zappe
RB (4): D. Harris, Stevenson, Montgomery, Strong Jr.
WR (6): Parker, Bourne, Meyers, Thornton, Wilkerson, Nixon
TE (2): Henry, Smith
OT (4): Brown, Wynn, Cajuste, Herron
IOL (5): Andrews, Onwenu, Strange, Hambright, Desjarlais
IDL (5): Godchaux, Guy, Barmore, Roberts, Ray
Game-day PS callups (2): Carl Davis, Henry Anderson
Edge (4): Judon, Wise, Jennings, Uche
ILB (3): Bentley, McMillan, Wilson (a bit light depth-wise, but safeties will also play here)
CB (6): Mills, Jo. Jones, Ma. Jones, Bryant, Ja. Jones, Wade
Game-day PS callup (1): Terrance Mitchell
S (5): D-Mac, Phillips, Dugger, Peppers, Bledsoe
STs (6): Folk, Bailey, Cardona, Slater, Cody Davis, Bethel
IR: Joejuan, Malcolm Butler, Nordin, Perkins, McGrone
Other notes on PS stash/call-up options:
Hoyer and Montgomery have a second year on their contract, and in Hoyer’s case most of that 2nd year is guaranteed… so it’s not as simple to stash them on the PS relative to guys like Carl Davis or Terrance Mitchell (on 1-year deals).
Interestingly, McMillan appears to have a base 1-yr min deal with no bonuses (unless Spotrac is wrong), which makes him the easiest to cut and put on the PS – but if he’s going to be a starter, they may not want to pull that move. You don’t want to risk losing a starter to another team (e.g., LV), and there could be locker room implications with pulling such a move on a starter.
The ones who barely made it:
Hambright and Desjarlais appear to be promising, athletic IOL. They need to develop some depth at IOL, and BB almost always keeps 9 OL on the 53. Hambright has run with the 1's at times.
Nixon and Wilkerson have shown they have potential to contribute and to play up to their measurables. I wouldn’t risk losing either by subjecting them to waivers; it’s difficult for this team to develop useful WRs, so let’s not give away ones that show some promise.
Ray and Roberts have flashed and have the traits to develop into good rushers. Pass-rush is desperately needed, both in NE and around the league -- can't risk them getting claimed. Roberts gets the game-day nod over Ray because he is also a STs lineman who is good at blocking kicks.
Bryant, Wade, and Bledsoe are the last ones in at DB. Bryant appears to be the #2 at both slot CB (behind Marcus Jones, since Jonathan Jones is on the outside now), and at punt-returner. Putting Mitchell on the PS to start the year is the key to keeping all three of them.
Jennings seems to have done enough to be given a shot in the edge rotation this year.
Already covered Agholor, Perkins, and McGrone.
Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene. They haven't produced and can't stay healthy. The list of NE 3rds who have been cut in their 3rd preseason is long, so they have to produce to stick (and they haven’t).
Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Tough spot for him, but given that he was available for the minimum (with no bonuses) so late in the offseason, his chances of signing to the PS are high.
Kevin Harris. Pretty run-of-the-mill trait wise. Feels replaceable and should have a decent chance to make it to the PS if cut. Not really sure why so many media members have penciled him in already on the 53.
JJ Taylor. A bit of a tough cut, given he might get claimed. Still, the long-speed / big-play ability isn’t really there, and he regressed some last year. Strong Jr. takes his spot as the passing back understudy.
Chasen Hines. Activated too late (too far behind); he’ll go to the PS if unclaimed.
Jahlani Tavai, Harvey Langi. Depth STers. Tavai is unlikely to be claimed on waivers (he passed through last year), while Langi is a vested vet and thus isn’t subject to waivers. Both will get their chances at some point during the year, as injuries pile up.
James Ferentz, Yasir Durant. Ferentz seems a low flight risk if cut and signed to the PS, which works against him when determining the initial 53. Durant is the fifth OT and is competing with the depth IOL (Hambright and Desjarlais). I feel like the IOL have higher ceilings at this point.
A mock practice squad, assuming JJ Taylor and Yasir Durant are claimed (they seem the most at risk), and Perkins and McGrone are IR’ed:
RBs: Kevin Harris
WRs: Lil’Jordan Humphrey
TE: Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene
OL: James Ferentz, Chasen Hines, Will Sherman, Kody Russey (his PS salary counts towards his $180k guaranteed salary)
DL: Carl Davis, Henry Anderson
LB: Harvey Langi, Jahlani Tavai, DeMarcus Mitchell
DB: Terrance Mitchell, Jalen Elliot
STer: Brendan Schooler
One absence on the PS is Bill Murray, but there are too many OL already.