Earlier in the offseason, NFL teams voted to do away with one of the preseason cut down dates and because of that, organizations will now need to cut from 90 players down to 53 after the final preseason games are played. Previously, teams cut from 90 players down to 75 players after the fourth week of the preseason, which was essentially after the third exhibition game for all but two teams.
So, what does Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert think about this new change? In short, he’s not a fan of it.
“That’s a little worrisome to me, quite honestly, because like Alejandro Villanueva was cut at 75 and we had a week prior to the 53 cut to get him in, work him out and maybe see how he can fit,” Colbert said Tuesday morning during an interview on Steelers Nation Radio. “Now, the kids that get cut at 53, if you’re going to claim them, they have to have a roster spot at 53, whereas at 75, you had a week to maybe figure it out.
“So, I’m not sure it’s going to help that group. If they don’t get claimed, then of course they go through waivers. They maybe can be added to a practice squad, or added later on, but I’m not really crazy about this limit, or the cut being all pushed to one time. But it’s something that the teams voted in and we’ll adjust, but I’m a little worried about those players that maybe had a chance for another opportunity at the last week of camp that they won’t have that now.”
Colbert’s reasoning indeed makes sense and especially when he pointed out what happened a few years ago with Alejandro Villanueva after he was waived as a defensive lineman by the Philadelphia Eagles during their cut-down from 90 to 75 players. Villanueva, as all of you know, was ultimately signed to the Steelers practice squad an converted to tackle and the rest is pretty much history.
Outside of giving teams a few extra players to play in place of others who are perceived as roster locks during the final week of the preseason, the doing away with the 90 to 75 cut-down date really sounds like it might hurt more players than it will help.
Will the change ultimately result in a few more players being claimed off waivers? We’ll see, but I kind of doubt it.