The NFL had its final 53-man roster cut-down day over the weekend. And while there was certainly relief from the fringe guys who made the cut, that didn’t mean all jobs were secure.
Monday just confirmed the cautionary tale that just because a player makes the 53-man roster cut, it doesn’t mean he has job security. The Giants proved that notion when they sent packing guys who many thought were going to be prominent role players.
Stevie Brown was perhaps the most shocking post-cut day casualty, as he was released to make room for another safety, Craig Dahl. Brown, who made a return to the team last week following his release by the Houston Texans, was thought to be a shoo-in to make the opening-day roster – especially considering the tenuous shape the safety position has been this summer due to injuries. Brown, who played for the Giants from 2012-14, had his best professional season for Big Blue when he notched a career-high eight interceptions and set the franchise’s single-season interception return yards mark in 2012.
His void was filled by Dahl, who was let go by the San Francisco 49ers over the weekend. Dahl, who played sparingly for the Giants in 2007, has experience in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, as he played for the current defensive coordinator when he was the head coach in St. Louis from 2009-11.
Dahl’s Big Blue arrival was so new that when he raced onto the practice field for Monday’s session, his No. 25 jersey didn’t even have his last name on the back. Dahl was quickly greeted by Spagnuolo and safeties coach Dave Merritt, who also coached him in 2007.
The cutting of Brown is quite curious, considering there was some buzz upon his return. But he never played for Spagnuolo’s defense, while Dahl is well-respected and well-versed in that scheme. Dahl won’t be an instant plug-and-play safety for the Giants, meaning the opening night starters at safety will be rookie Landon Collins and lightly-used third-year player Cooper Taylor. That’ a combined zero starts for the duo.
It’ll be up to that duo to keep the likes of wideouts Dez Bryant and Terrence Williams, and tight end Jason Witten in front of them. Look for the Cowboys to immediately exploit the safeties in the primetime matchup. The only other safety on the roster is the recently signed Brandon Meriweather, who’s also playing catch-up in Spagnuolo’s scheme.
The releasing of Brown wasn’t the only eyebrow raiser, as the Giants also jettisoned defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis and cornerback Mike Harris. Those transactions made room for cornerback Asa Jackson, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, and defensive Louis Nix III, most recently of the Houston Texans.
Big Blue notes:
-The Giants’ starting defense struggled to make impactful plays during the preseason, but help could soon be on the way. Jason Pierre-Paul was set to return to the facilities on Monday, with the plan of meeting with the coaching staff and hopefully ready to take a physical, in what will be the first step in having the Pro Bowl defensive end rejoin the team. Following his physical, the next step will be to get his name on the dotted line, as he’s yet to sign his one-year franchise tender of $14.8 million. And then it’s up to him and his conditioning to determine how long it takes for him to see actual action. Don’t look for him to immediately be ready to get on the practice field, or even to the active roster, however. Pierre-Paul is currently on the reserve/franchise tag list and the thought is that he and his representatives will need to negotiate some kind of deferment in his tender. The amount of salary will likely be based on the round of examinations, and how much head coach Tom Coughlin and his staff can determine how much the defensive end can contribute this season. Pierre-Paul will likely miss the opener in Dallas, but some believe he can be ready to take the field by October.
-The Giants called about the trade value of Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, who is embroiled in a feisty contract standoff with Seattle, but a source noted that deal is a long shot.
-The Giants signed six players to their practice squad over the weekend, all of whom were with the team in training camp. The group includes offensive linemen Adam Gettis and Emmett Cleary, wide receiver Julian Talley, defensive end Brad Bars, linebacker Cole Farrand, and defensive back C.J. Conway – who was a standout at local Division-III Montclair State University. That leaves room for four more on the 10-player practice squad.
-Among the notable names from Saturday’s cut-down day, linebacker Jameel McClain, tight end Adrien Robinson, fullback Henry Hynoski, and punter Steve Weatherford were the biggest. Weatherford was replaced by lefty Brad Wing, who was brought over via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a seventh-round pick.