A rebuilding team is going to churn its roster and cut more players than a stable franchise. That’s been the case for Seattle as the Seahawks have posted a 25-23 record over the past three seasons.
When it lets players go, an established team that’s consistently successful is going to see them snatched up by the competition. That’s been the case for New England, as the Patriots have gone 39-9 over the same time span.
NFC West blogger Mike Sando offered this splendid post this week on the number of cut players by every team in the league who have been picked up off waivers.
Seattle is tops in the NFL with 25 players claimed, and New England is second with 23.
Here is the AFC South:
8th) Texans, 15 (28-20)
9t) Colts, 14 (23-25)
9t) Jaguars, 14 (15-33)
32nd) Titans, 3 (21-27)
The Texans have been a pretty good team over the past three seasons, and they have drafted well. It makes sense that other teams would look to bring in guys they cut, thinking, in part, that Houston’s good scouting might offer an assist.
I’m surprised where the Colts and Jaguars rank. Through 2011, Indianapolis played a system featuring small defenders and small offensive linemen -- players that won’t necessarily appeal to the bulk of the league. Jacksonville has not drafted well, but perhaps all the draft picks who have been cut have intrigued the rest of the league because they had some status.
The Titans have had just three players claimed off waivers in this span -- the league low.
It’s too simple just to say a team with limited talent hasn’t had players passing through that are of interest to other franchises. Because Baltimore (34-14) has only had five players claimed, and Atlanta (36-12) has only had four.
We don’t know what teams have had the most roster moves and the least in that span.
But here are a couple other factors at play:
Six of the top seven teams have changed coaches in the past three years, and a new coach usually means a lot of turnover. (Though the Titans are an obvious outlier there.)
The Seahawks, Patriots and Eagles don’t hesitate to bring in guys, and they don’t hesitate to let go of them if things don't work out. With more transactions come more opportunity to have guys picked up. Contrast that with the Titans. Granted it was an abnormal season, but in 2011, they waived just one player after Week 2, and had him picked up. Johnson, a fullback, ultimately returned to the Titans and is now their starter.
UPDATE, Tuesday evening: The Titans' number is now up to four. Defensive end Thaddeus Gibson was claimed by the Cowboys Tuesday.