On the heels of other cuts, Maake Kemoeatu, Landon Johnson, and Nail Diggs were cut today, announced officially with the other cuts.
The move pares away two more starters, which including free agents now includes the entire defensive line and stands at a total of five - roughly half the defense (including restricted free agents, seven).
Johnson made sense from a fiscal standpoint. In the last year of a three year deal, Johnson never started long term and failed as a replacement for an injured Thomas Davis. James Anderson was solid in the role, and probably gets more playing time now. Johnson also didn't play special teams all that well, and made a lot of money to be a backup at what's essentially a cheap role.
Diggs, however, did everything we needed him to do, and held off a lot of challengers (including both Anderson and Johnson). He came in with an injury stigma, but was able to play in all but 3 games over four years. He was essentially a starter for each of those games, though didn't receive a start in 15 of the 61 games when we started in the nickel defense. But at 31, and again reaching a high point in a contract, Diggs was let go.
Kemoeatu was a more special case, after having heard the virtues of his presence (mostly after he was gone) all year. The bottom line? He never fit our defense, he's over 30, he was paid like an every down lineman but was a run specialist, and he was coming off the most severe injury you can get for a big player. He could've been dominant if he'd have stayed down and gotten leverage, but he simply took up space.
If the team wants a cheap version of him, they can go get Hollis Thomas short term, but chances are we'll choose to go with players that fit our scheme better.
All of these roles filled by these players have been filled with youth. For Kemoeatu, you have Leonard; for Lewis you have Tyler and Irvin. For Diggs you have Anderson and Dan Connor. For Delhomme, Moore.
Doesn't always make it easier, especially for the guys like Diggs and Delhomme that never let up.