Three surprising cuts by the Las Vegas Raiders

Source: USA Today

When training camp begins back in July, there are over 2,800 players that are hopeful for their dreams to come true, but by the end of August, over 1,100 players’ dreams are ultimately shattered. The NFL deadline to get down to 53 players has come and gone, and the Raiders have cut 37 players to get their roster down to the NFL mandate. So who were the most shocking cuts from Tuesday’s roster cuts for the Las Vegas Raiders?

Karl Joseph

Karl Joseph was brought in to be a key backup for the Raiders, so when he lined up against the San Francisco 49ers, a match Jon Gruden described as one that will allow the coaching staff to analyze players on the roster bubble, it did not make a ton of sense why Joseph was playing.

However, as the game went on, it was Gillespie and Teamer who kept flashing on tape, and it was Gillespie who made the play of the game against the 49ers:

The Raiders value Gillespie’s range over Karl Joseph’s, especially when it comes to coverage. Although shocking, they chose not to go with the veteran who can play both as a box safety and post safety for Gus Bradley. However, Gillespie also played both spots during camp and the Raiders saw enough from the rookie to move on from Joseph.

Besides Gillespie, the Raiders also have familiarity in Gus Bradley’s system with Roderic Teamer. He is now in his third year and has a prime shot at getting a ton of reps this season.

Karl Joseph is practice squad eligible if the Raiders want him back. If he signs elsewhere, the Raiders will incur a cap hit of $987K for cutting him.

Isaiah Johnson

Isaiah Johnson will be remembered for securing the victory for the Silver and Black against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 9 of the 2020 season. Johnson, who had just come off the PUP list two weeks ago, was cut after his game against the San Francisco 49ers, in which he did not impress the coaching staff.

Johnson played in 45 snaps Sunday, but he was out of coverage multiple times. He also did not show the improvement of playing the ball in the air, which was one of his most significant areas for him to improve on. In fact, one of his two pass interference calls came because he was unable to turn his head and locate the football. That penalty gave the Niners the ball at the one-yard line.

Looking at his overall performance, he did have a few tackles in the run game. He also made a tackle which stopped the 49ers from gaining a first down on third down. He also lined up in multiple spots, which is something Gus Bradley values from his defensive players:

Right linebacker5
Slot corner3
Right Corner37
Special Teams13

The third-year corner being cut is a bit of a surprise because he has shown much potential throughout his young career, but injuries were ultimately why he did not make this roster. If the Raiders believe in Johnson, they could bring him back to the practice squad as he is still eligible. Nevertheless, he would have to clear waivers first, and if he is claimed by someone else, it would cost the Raiders $330K in dead cap over the next two years.

Trey Ragas

The Raiders RB3 spot was up in the air after the Raiders brought in multiple running backs to compete with Jalen Richard. After a strong showing by Ragas, and an injury that kept Richard out all of camp, it was pretty clear Ragas would end up being the Raiders guy. Not only that, but he looked really explosive at times while playing.

Ragas finished the preseason with 28 carries for 102 yards on the ground and 8 catches for 59 yards through the air. Not to mention how great he looked in pass protection:

If there is one asset Jalen Richard has that Jacobs and Drake don’t, it’s pass protection. And with Ragas showing he can handle those duties, it didn’t make sense for the Silver and Black to cut Ragas, when they can save almost $2.9M in cap by moving on from Richard. (although his injury complicates cutting him)

Chances are, Ragas will be signed to the practice squad, but that is yet to be confirmed. If another team saw the explosiveness the young running back possesses, they might claim him from waivers.

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