NFL Offseason Roster Changes

It’s the offseason for the NFL, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no excitement right now. Watching teams move players around is almost as much fun as watching the games themselves. Sometimes, the changes are expected. This happened recently with Ace Sanders being released from the Jacksonville Jaguars. As a wide receiver, Sanders had 51 catches during his rookie season in 2013, but was almost a non-factor for the Jags last season as he only had only 6 catches the entire season. It should be noted that he was suspended for the first four games due to a violation of the substance abuse policy, but this was still an awful season for him. Even though he was a fourth round draft pick in 2013, Sanders demonstrated that he didn’t belong where he was. Therefore, his being cut was not a surprise at all.

In other instances, changes come by complete surprise. And sometimes, it happens with management, and not players at all. When the New York Jets cut Rex Ryan and he was picked up by the Buffalo Bills earlier this offseason, a lot of heads were turned. The Bills have had struggles for years, and it’s easy to be skeptical that yet another coaching change will turn their fortunes around. However, Ryan saw quite a bit of success with the Jets when QB Mark Sanchez was playing, and there’s reason to believe that Ryan could do the same with the Bills given similar talent levels. The Jets didn’t have a great team before he coached them, either, and this could be what the Bills need. There will be a ton of speculation until it happens, of course, and there’s a chance that it never will. Coaching is only a piece in the puzzle, after all.

Sports bettors love this kind of thing because it provides (or subtracts) value from a team, but usually the price as given by Vegas isn’t affected too much. For example, a futures bet on the Bills winning the Super Bowl pays 35-1. A $100 bet returns $3,500. Not too shabby, and Ryan’s addition to the team did nothing to change that number. Good coaching can take a mediocre team to the postseason, though, and any team that makes the playoffs has a realistic chance at winning the Super Bowl, even if it’s only small. The NFL has a lot of variance within it.

It also has an impact upon fantasy sports. Let’s say you draft projected starting Buffalo QB, Matt Cassel, onto your fantasy team. How does Ryan’s presence influence his play? Ryan has had a proven track record of helping quarterbacks improve, and this could benefit Cassel. Watching his performance and EJ Manuel’s during the pre-season could give a glimpse of what Ryan has planned for his team. Cassel’s been around for a while, but Manuel is young and fits the profile of the talent Ryan’s worked with successfully. Even if he isn’t listed as a starter right now, he could be a great addition to your team, depending upon what you’re looking for.

Pre-season hasn’t even started yet, so there will most likely be a lot of changes before opening day. As cuts are made during training camp and pre-season play, there will be even more drama as rosters are finalized. Watching this is exciting, but it all is building up toward actual game time. That’s what all of these movements are for; they are designed to make the teams as powerful as possible. So, while trades and cuts are fun to watch, they are all just building blocks for the teams themselves to make it to the Super Bowl.