· OT - Trading Eugene Monroe (replaced with Austin Pasztor)
· SS - Releasing Dawan Landry (replaced with Jonathan Cyprien)
· FS - Releasing Dwight Lowery (replaced with Josh Evans)
So far not a single one of those players that he let go has been replaced with a player who is better at the position he plays. Some of them are actually significantly worse. Now obviously the two safeties were let go because they feel like Jon and Josh are going to be the long term fixtures at the position and that's completely fine, and even Pasztor has looked surprisingly competent at RT so I can deal with that, but Ball, Hayes, Ta'ufo'ou, and Miller are just stop gaps, so why even let the other players go? I understand money is an issue, but when you look at the contracts only letting Derek Cox go saved us anything, and he is a significantly better corner than Alan Ball. Obviously we lucked out with getting Will Blackmon so that won't turn out to be a huge loss over all, but no one here could argue that Geno is better than Daryl (though he is younger and there was a shot that he could be a long term fixture, but really it would not have hurt us to keep Daryl for this one more year and provide ourselves with solid play at OLB). Furthermore, Ta'ufo,ou is an obvious step down from Jones as a FB, and Miller is not as competent as Knighton at DT. Based off of his decisions so far, Caldwell has opened holes at the DT, FB, and OLB spots, with DT being the most serious of the three. Geno could still possibly work out at OLB, though I doubt he would ever be as good as Smith and so I hesitate to say he is a long term fixture. Will Ta'ufo'ou is definitely not a long term player on our team, nor is Roy Miller. CB is not a problem due to the emergence of Will Blackmon, but if Alan Ball had been our only corner besides Gratz I would have thought more help would be needed at CB. Both safety positions I will give him the benefit of the doubt on, as it is too early to make judgments on Cyprien and Evans. Tackle could end up working out because of how well Pasztor has been playing in relief. I will not criticize the majority of the decisions, as the CB call saved us a lot of money and he managed to snag Will Blackmon (and great GMs find players where the find them), and the tackle decision is appearing to solve itself as well. I would say that he has not seriously hurt the team in the long term, as really Knighton was the only player let go who could have contributed in the future, but he has made this season more difficult in terms of letting go two stop-gap players that could have acted as band aids to support our LB corps and our run game.
In conclusion, this upcoming offseason we have a long list of positions that need to be address (in order of importance): QB, DE, OG/C, DT, FB, LB, and RB. Our team is so low on talent that means that he will need to hit on almost every draft pick this year to fill so many positions, and he will still have to go to free agency for band aid players. If he hadn't let Knighton, Smith, and Jones go last year, at least three of those positions could still be covered, leaving us fewer holes to fill and a great chance of hitting on players. So here’s hoping we hit on all of our draft picks next year, because we sorely need to!