Kwesi is Dealing. Is He Right or Wrong?
NFL cutdown day is one of the most emotional days of the year. Hundreds of players will be cut from rosters, placed on practice squads, or traded to new teams. Kwesi was dealing all week, and now it is time to determine if he is right or wrong.
Well, let’s be a little more patient than asking for Kwesi to resign if we do not like some of his moves. We need to allow the season to play out a little bit before we can really say if all of these moves were right or wrong. However, we can extrapolate a little about what they are trying to do.
A couple of surprises were cutting Armon Watts and Ihmir Smith-Marsette. Both of these players played well enough to make the team. Although, Kwesi cut them both. Why would he do such a thing?
First, the Vikings made a salary cap move by cutting Watts. After all, the Vikings traded for Ross Blacklock, who is cheaper than Watts. Based on the last couple of years, it is clear that Watts is a better player, but perhaps the Vikings front office sees a higher ceiling with Blacklock. Although, this really feels like a pure cap space move.
Next, cutting ISM makes no sense on the surface level. Throughout all of training camp, it was clear he was the fourth-best wide receiver on the team. This makes it very surprising that the Vikings would cut him, even with the acquisition of Jalen Reagor. There were better options for players to be cut, like Jalen Nailor.
Again, both of these cuts seem like poor decisions at first glance. Did the Vikings get worse or better? It is impossible to tell at the moment. We need time to see how things mesh. However, let’s examine how these trades and cuts will impact the team.
How the Vikings Will Use Reagor and Blacklock
Jalen Reagor was highly touted coming out of TCU. Many projected him as one of the top 5 wide receivers of the 2020 draft. Of course, there is the awkwardness of Jefferson being picked one pick after him and then proceeding to be one of the best wide receivers in the league while Reagor has struggled.
However, the Vikings do not need Reagor to be Jefferson. They just need someone who can reliably catch punts, something ISM struggled with in the preseason, and be a backup that can play sporadically throughout the game.
This is something that Reagor can do quite well. More importantly, he has athletic gifts that ISM does not. Reagor’s straight-line speed will give the Vikings a “clear out” guy. This means he will often run verticals at the safety to take pressure off Jefferson. Look for this to become a staple of the Vikings’ offense this season.
On the other hand, Blacklock will be more depth than a starter. Although he believes he will be a starter, KOC might have other plans. KOC, in his press conference, specifically called out Jonathan Bullard as a guy who can take on the Armon Watts role.
That said, Blacklock is a good pass-rushing defensive tackle who can be used in a stunt-heavy defense, which the Vikings will utilize. Look to see Blacklock subbed in frequently as a pass rusher.
Mitch Massman is a life-long Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3
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