The new NFL offseason structure in 2023 has made for a very interesting training camp. Rather than steadily cutting down their rosters every week, teams get to hold onto their full 90 players before the entire cut to 53 has to be made on Tuesday, Aug. 29.
That has made it harder than ever to get a clear picture of what a team’s final roster will look like, but Bill Belichick’s backhanded compliment to a couple recent Patriots additions highlight a few players who may end up getting cut.
On the surface, this is a compliment. These guys are football-ready. They’re in good shape. They’re ready to go and can be big contributors in training camp and the preseason.
But how much of a compliment is it really to have your coach say something like “we signed these guys because they played recently.” Not “we think these guys can have a long-term impact.” Not “we think these were the best guys available.” Just “This time of year, you need somebody that’s ready to go.”
The insinuation is that at another time of the year, they’re not really so valuable.
So what happens when we reach the end of the preseason and most of the league has had time to get up to speed? Well then suddenly “ready to go” is a lot easier to find, and these XFL and USFL signings lose the trait that Belichick seems to think made them worth rostering at all.
Belichick had a much longer answer in his radio appearance, but the theme remained the same. It’s about these guys being ready and in good shape as depth options during tryouts. It’s not about how likely they are to be able to develop into reliable contributors or stick around for the long run.
So C.J. Marable, Micah Vanterpool and Carson Wells are great training camp bodies. Heck, that value of being “ready to go” might even get them over the roster cutdown deadline, and there’s an outside chance it remains important into the early weeks of the season.
But eventually we’ll see that just about everybody is “ready to go” and what matters is talent and on-field performance.
Belichick doesn’t seem to have any plans on keeping these guys in New England for long, so we can expect them to be out the door unless any of them show out with some really incredible performances in the final week of the preseason.
Fans looking to back the Patriots once the final roster is set should look at doing it on Caesars Sportsbook. Caesars launched a brand new new-user promo on Monday which will award you with 5x the value of your first bet in bonuses. If you sign up through the exclusive Chowder and Champions link below you will unlock a guaranteed $250 bonus. This offer expires soon though, so sign up now to cash in!