Did the Titans screw up by cutting Roydell Williams?


It happens every year. When NFL teams make their final cuts to get down to the league-mandated 53-player limit, there will be conflicting opinions by fans. Should so-and-so have been cut? Why did what’s-his-name make the team? It’s often a difficult decision, to be sure, for the GM and coaching staff, particularly with the last few cuts.
Drexel examined the possibility of Roydell Williams being cut a week ago. I also wrote about the receivers who might or might not make the roster. Thanks to all of you for your comments on both articles, voicing your opinions. We had some good discussions.
Although Roydell has been slow to recover from his broken ankle, I feel the Titans should have kept him. Part of the problem I have with their decision is with the two guys they kept instead of Williams. Somehow, Chris Davis and Paul Williams stayed while Roydell was let go.
Of course, the Titans’ spin on it was that they needed healthy receivers who could contribute right now.
The fifth and sixth wideouts probably won’t dress for games or see any playing time until someone else is injured. That hopefully won’t occur for a while, which would have given Roydell more time to heal, had he been retained.
Roydell is a proven commodity with some degree of known value. He tied for the team lead in receptions last year with 55 catches. As Drexel pointed out, some of his most important contributions came in must-win games for the Titans.
Contrast his performance with that of Davis, who caught only five passes for just 38 yards. Roydell gained more yards than that on a single play, which set up the game-winning score against the Texans last year.
Paul Williams made even less of a contribution than Davis in 2007. He didn’t suit up for a single game last year. He hasn’t peed a drop yet in the NFL, and that will probably continue for a while, as he will keep getting named to the inactive list every week.
From what I saw, if someone else had stepped up, Roydell didn’t do enough in training camp or preseason games to fend them off and keep his roster spot. It became a moot point, because nobody stepped up. Neither Paul Williams or Davis did anything to surpass Roydell on the depth chart. Roydell wasn’t beaten out for his roster spot, it was taken from him.
I wish Roydell the best in his continued recovery. Hopefully, he’ll get another chance with some other team if the Titans don’t wise up and re-sign him.


21 Responses to “Did the Titans screw up by cutting Roydell Williams?”

  1. Markus Says:

    Yes, bobcomu. The way I see it, there were injury concerns that would have kept RW out for more than a few weeks. He gave his best before getting hurt. Sadly enough, his best was mediocrity. We can accept that or move on and look for something better. Jones is better when healthy, as are J2. IMO, Ealy will blossom over time. PW may or may not. Davis is cut fodder but his skills as a return man kept him here. Lastly, please wait until Hawk is on the field. He will be our #1 next year, wait and see. We did the right thing-discard what we know will never be better and keep the potential to be better.

  2. jerryt. Says:

    Of course this was a screw up, i wish him well and good luck on his future.

  3. OilersToTitians Says:

    Are you serious, yes you the man who wrote this article… i agree to many things you write about except this articel really…..Yes RW lead the team last year,,, last year… last year…. this isa new year and you cant live off of last year high when it comes to NFL….. yea RW was hurt and should be given a chance but what did he rally do before last year….. and i dont personally feel he would have the same year again….RW woould have been injury pron the whole year and then been on the sideline….. I think the titans did well with keeping the number two guy and develping the young talen becasue the young talen is what a team is built on for the future…. not the hope that injure vets would come back to get the job done….the titans are looking for the future, and everyone is talking about the young guys that didnt play or didnt suit up…well many rookis in the league that dont suit up for a while and if they do tey still dont play, so suting up and not suiting up doesnt matter when you dont play either way… The young Guys like PW and CD need to get that playing time to improve because no matter how much you do go in practice you can never see how good they are until you play them enough in the league so they can learn how to read other defenses and not their own. If i were to raise a team i would go with the young guys and suffer for a little while so they can develope and havethe overall big picture rather than keeping that small mind and hoping on tose injury prone WRs to limp it out. i would rather keep the fresh legs and develop them, rather than let them go and let someone else develope them and use them against me…. As for PW when he is fully develope he will be the force to recon with and the Fresno State PW will begin to shine in the NFL and then who will be RW when you have the PW, big, fast, natural talent freak….

  4. Garland Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Andrew. This is a fine piece of new-media journalism. 🙂

  5. Garland Says:

    O2T, you are acting like Roydell was old and washed up. Rather, he is in his 4th year (still young) and coming off a relatively recent injury. You ask what he had done before last year, but what have PW and CD done early in their careers? Roydell was on the fairly typical NFL WR path — struggle to adjust to the NFL for a couple of years and then start to show real improvement in the next couple of years before signing the big free-agent contract after your rookie contract expires. By your “last year means nothing” approach, Indy should have cut Peyton Manning since he’s been injured the whole pre-season. Granted, Roydell doesn’t have a long track record of success, but leading the team in receptions last year is certainly enough reason to keep him around at least for a few more weeks to see if he can recover fully while he is inactive every week. If it turns out that Roydell is not going to make it back fully healthy, then the Titans could release him and elevate one of the practice squad players if they need the depth.

  6. Robert F. Ludwick Says:

    I pretty much agree. The Titans have kept a lot of players the last few seasons based solely upon potential, especially in the backup positions. It’s time the team stopped shopping on potential and started shopping on production.

  7. Scott Says:

    Of course the Titans screwed up by cutting Roydell. It makes no sense to me that the Titans would cut a guy like Roydell who is a proven commodity and has demonstrated that, when healthy, he is the best receiver on the roster.
    I understand that football is a business and that you have to keep the guys who are able to contribute. But as you say Andrew, the 5th and 6th receivers on this roster aren’t expected to contribute right away anyway, and judging by the pre-season that P. Williams had, it will likely be sometime before he can be relied on to be a top 3 WR. The Titans could have waited for Roydell to become heathier over the first few weeks of the season and then when the inevitable happens (Jones starts dropping passes in key situations or goes down with another injury) the Titans would be able to activate a receiver that they know will perform. Cutting Roydell just seems to me to be short-sighted. He isn’t one hundred percent healthy right at this very moment, so he can’t be on the team.
    The other thing that bothers me about cutting Roydell is the message that it sends to the other players (particularly receivers). If a player has a big season for a team and demonstrates that he is willing and able to step up and be the number one guy at his position, he will still be cut if he suffers an injury and can’t play at that high level for a period of time. Why would any quality free agent want to sign with a team that will release you the moment that it looks like you might be slowed a bit by an injury. And why would any of the receivers on the Titans current roster re-sign with the team (assuming that the WR has a good season) knowing that the coaching staff will show no loyalty to you and will release you the moment that your play dips a little because of an injury.
    Is this just the Titans way of ensuring that they never have to pay a player much above the league minimum to play at the WR position?? If Roydell went out and had a big year this year, surely they would have had to consider paying him big bucks. By cutting him, they have eliminated that possibility.

  8. Dave Says:

    I think a lot of you guys are forgetting the Oilers/Titans history with injured receivers. I wouldn’t be suprised if Roydell didn’t make another team at all. Not a single defense in the NFL game plans for Roydell Williams. He was in a contract year, he’s injured, he probably wouldn’t play at all this year. Why would we keep him around for absolutely nothing, but to take up a valuable roster spot? I’m not a C, Davis or P. Williams fan by any means, but I’d rather have people who can contribute than a guy who won’t do anything.
    On a related note, I hope this cut lights a fire under Brandon Jone’s rear. All of the receivers for that matter.

  9. Tom Gower Says:

    The reason he go got cut, and the reason he hasn’t been signed by another team, is he’s not fully healthy. And if he wasn’t fully healthy, he shouldn’t have been playing. The big mistake was taking him off the PUP list during camp. If they’d left him there and let him heal, like they should have, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now. Once they did that, if he wasn’t 100%, he was gone.
    I think players understand the risk of injury, which is why they like bonuses and other guaranteed money. I think it’s harder to stomach bad roster management, and that looks like what we have here. I just wonder whose doghouse Roydell got in first-Fisher’s, Dinger’s, or Fred Graves’s.

  10. bobcomu Says:

    Fisher said that his biggest injury problems were a different issue than what he was on the pup list for. Everyone keeps saying that Williams led the team in receptions last year but the way I remember it is he was tied for the lead with Gage, who was the go to receiver in the latter part of the season. People have been trashing the entire receiving core all offseason and are now acting, not so much here, like they just cut a sure fire hall of famer. I know he was one of the top in a weak group but lets try to keep it in perspective.

  11. I.jason Says:

    I think several things argue against your point Andrew, not least of which is the item brought up by Dave, above. Roydell was in a contract year, and hurt.
    Which means the choice was keep a player who – at best – would be the 3rd WR in ‘Dinger’s offense, and thus drop someone with (presumably) high potential, or keep the potential and drop the guy we’d get nothing for at the end of the year.
    Also, as has been mentioned, Tom’s premise of “leave him on the PUP” was addressed in Jeff’s presser, and he specifically said there was a different issue that came up after they took him off the PUP.
    I think there’s something else at play here as well. Whether it be, as Tom said, Roydell got into someone’s doghouse, or there’s something we’re not being told. Jeff is a very good wordsmith when he wants to be, and I think it’s interesting that he said:
    “I think things may have been different had he been available to us throughout the OTAs…”
    “…you’ve gotta have healthy players…and it’s hard to predict his future from that standpoint…”
    And his immediate (to the point of cutting off the question) response to the idea of having left RW on the PUP:
    “No, I have – no. No. That’s not the case because there was – it was a second issue that came up after we cleared him.”
    Jeff didn’t say “If he was healthy” in the offseason, he said “If he was available to us.”
    The comment that it was hard to predict Roydell’s future from the “healthy player” standpoint means whatever is bothering RW is not likely to be a short-term thing. Something requiring surgery, perhaps?”
    Jeff’s word choice makes one think.
    To me it seems very likely that Roydell wasn’t going to play this year, and there was thus no point in keeping him on the roster. They might have been able to PUP him again for the second issue, but if it was likely to be a season-ender, doing so would have been a waste of time, and I’m not sure they could have done so anyway. IR was a possibility, but why put a guy on IR during the final year of his contract – unless you’re 100% sure you plan to sign him next year (and if this is a potential career-ender…)?
    Much better to keep the young, unproven guys with high upside and more contract years left (low-dollar years, I might add), and drop them only if/when you pick up a proven replacement.

  12. JimOKC Says:

    Tom seems to be spot on. I would have liked to know what the 2nd issue was to not keep him on PUP.

  13. cld12pk2go Says:

    I tend to agree. I think we are missing some key pieces of the puzzle.
    Either way, if he is able to return next year, we still have a (small) shot at bringing him back…

  14. Scott Says:

    Roydell caught 23 passes in the last 5 games and 3 touchdowns. Compare that to Gage who caught 19 and 1 touchdown. There is no doubt that Roydell stepped up to the plate when things counted the most last season. My problem with cutting Roydell is the same as Andrew’s – two of the guy’s picked ahead of him have shown absolutely nothing to date (both last year and this year in pre-season). If Davis or P. Williams decide to quit football tomorrow, does anyone really believe that the Titans wouldn’t be able to plug in Ealy (or anyone else for that matter) and get as much (or more) production out of the number 5 or 6 receiver spot on this team. While Roydell is not a hall of famer, he did produce in an offense that has very few quailty receivers or playmakers. That should have counted for something when the Titans were deciding who to release.
    I have mourned the loss of Roydell for the last time. I know he is not coming back. Here’s hoping that Chad Jackson becomes a Titan very soon: http://nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=62505

  15. jerryt. Says:

    This is what i hear in fishers voice, roydell w. wasnt able to come off the line as quick and strong as he once did before the injury, his lateral movement wasnt as quick as was, so if your not a healthy wr in jeff system you have to go. period……Hawkins you better get healthy or els..

  16. Drexel Perry Says:

    Chad Jackson is a very talented guy who could benefit from a change of scenery.
    The article also mentions Glenn Martinez, late of the Broncos, as a possibility. He was with Dinger in Denver last year, so he’s a guy who is familiar with what Dinger expects from his WRs.
    Speaking of Dinger, I’m convinced that his presence, along with the ankle injury, are the reasons why Roydell is no longer a Titan.
    I wrote a piece back in May, inspired by a Tennessean article, that suggested that Roydell’s absence from OTAs was allowing other guys, such as McCareins, to emerge as potential contributors in 08.
    Dinger is obviously the new/old sheriff in town. He probably has significant input in decision-making regarding the WR spot, as evidenced by McCareins being signed and stepping up as a starter, as well as the potential of Martinez, a guy who was with Dinger in Denver, coming to TN.
    Good article, Andrew.

  17. Dave Says:

    I like/d Roydell, but in the grand scheme of things, I won’t miss him.
    Peter King picked Chris Johnson as his probable rookie of the year ( in other news)

  18. bobcomu Says:

    You know football season is here when every time you put it on ESPN someone else is picking the Titans to stink it up and finish 8-8 or worse. You would think they, and some people here, would learn that they dont need a lot of big name players with huge fantasy stats to be a good football team. I think that in this age of video game and fantasy football good solid smashmouth, TENNESSEE TITANS football is looked down upon as not good enough. Well I for one will take it. Sorry just had to rant for a minute.

  19. Andrew Strickert Says:

    Fellas, thanks for all your comments. Good discussion. I agree that nobody will sign Roydell right now, but in a few months when receivers around the league are going down and Roydell is healthier, who knows?

  20. OilersToTitians Says:

    let see….
    you yourself said that he struggled when he first came in the league, so why would PW be any different than RW…..not every recievers comes in and dominates…. so cut the guy some slack…i hope that every guy on here that talkes noise about him including you swallows it all when it get over the struggle phase of the game. And yes PM was hurt but he has done a lot more for the team than roydell has for his team… It would be different if he had last season stats since he was in he league but he didnt so now other people are getting the chance…. suck it up

  21. jerryt. Says:

    Roydell needs to get healthy before hes able to step on any football field, I agree with jeff i would want healthy position players on my scuade, the titans are finding healthy players this year to help the team, if you look at some of the other players that was cut they had injury problems to so it’s not just roydell.
    Entering this season we want to be as healthy as can be in all positions in order to make a play-off run.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: