So there are 10 instead of 8 spots on the practice squad as of this season. Does that mean anything when it comes to talent making the final 53?
So let’s say it comes down to 2 players for a position. 1 is a vet and a solid player. The other is a rookie or a 2nd or 3rd year player (practice squad eligible). Now you can go with the talent and hope it develops and cut the veteran, OR you can go with the veteran and sign the talent to the practice squad.
Would such a situation exist on the Saints current roster? Yes! And there are even 2. The battles I am talking about are for the kicker position and the center position.
For kicker the battle between Dimke and Graham is really close. Normally they would cut the one that they do not choose. In this case, with the extra spot on the practice squad it might be a valid idea to just cut Dimke and park him there (he is 3rd year, thus eligible) to keep Graham on his toes, and let Dimke learn form the veteran. When Graham blows up and it costs the Saints a game, that is when Dimke is there in a heartbeat to replace the vet.
For center you have a battle of Goodwin vs Badwin. I mean, Tim Lelito. Lelito is a 2nd year player and will make the final 53. Even is he loses the battle for starting center he will be the primary backup. So the real battle is an indirect one; Goodwin vs Calamity. Ehm I mean Kelemete. There is very little doubt in my mind that Goodwin will make the final 53 now too. He played some guard in training camp. He could very well be the interior lineman backup. Rather then cutting him, him being a mentor to Badwin and Calamity is a way better option.
So will talent be sacrificed and put on the practice squad more than before? Yes! Of course a team will always choose the best player, but when 2 players are on par with each other and the likeliness of them being signed to an other team is slow, the talent will be sacrificed in favor of the veterans.
PS. an example where the Battle is close-ish but the talent will not end up on the practice squad is Griffin vs Hanburger, McCow(n)… Ok sorry guys even I think that nickname is lame. Anyway, there is a 90% chance Griffin gets signed by another team and will not end up on the practice squad. So that means bye-bye McCown. Keeping 2 on par QBs as a backup on the active roster is not something Sean Payton will do.