The LA Chargers made a slew of cuts on Tuesday to get the roster down to 53 players for the first official 53-man roster of the season. While there were a few surprises, the biggest surprise far and away was the team waiving Tyron Johnson.
Johnson was one of the early standouts of LA Chargers training camp as he was really seeming to come into his own. However, something changed over the course of camp and the preseason as Johnson got fewer and fewer reps and didn't seem to be in great favor with Brandon Staley.
All that led up to Johnson being cut, which still blindsided nearly every Charger fan. The hope is that he can stick around and be on the practice squad but with his dynamic ability, chances are another team scoops him up.
With most moves it is best to try and see the point of view from both sides and the Chargers obviously feel a certain way about Johnson. Perhaps something terrible happened behind closed doors, but that is really the only thing that can justify this. Because when you look at it from a pure roster standpoint, there is only one takeaway:
It is impossible to justify the LA Chargers cutting Tyron Johnson
A character issue is the best guess for Johnson's surprise departure but even that is not a great excuse. As Tyler Schoon of the Guilty as Charged Podcast points out, why would the Chargers even let Johnson stick around this long?
If it truly is a character issue then why wouldn't the team address it earlier in camp and bring in someone else to take the reps and potentially make the roster. Unless something extremely sudden happened why would the team string this out?
When it comes to pure talent, Johnson is absolutely deserving of making the roster. The Chargers are only keeping five wide receivers and nobody can convince me that K.J. Hill is a better wide receiver right now than Johnson is.
Johnson built a rapport with Justin Herbert. Sure, Josh Palmer has been excellent this preseason and maybe he beat out Johnson for the WR3 spot, but having Johnson as the WR4 or WR5 still has plenty of value.
That is especially true considering Mike Williams is as injury-prone as they come and there still is the potential for Palmer to have some learning curves in year one. Even if Williams stays healthy and Palmer plays as well as he did in the preseason, having that deep threat in the receiving room is huge.
Just look at the players that the Chargers kept over Tyron Johnson. They kept a sixth cornerback in Kemon Hall over Johnson, and while Hall was solid in camp, he is not going to have anywhere near the impact Johnson had.
That is not even the bad example. The team waived Johnson while keeping three quarterbacks and four running backs on the roster. There is absolutely zero reason for Easton Stick and Chase Daniel to both be on the roster. The team also could have easily cut a running back and replaced said running back from the practice squad or free agency.
Justin Jackson is always hurt anyway and Joshua Kelley was horrible last season and was not much better in the preseason. They definitely could have cut Kelley and either kept him on the practice squad or found someone who can provide just as much of an impact in case of emergency.
Some may also point to Trey Pipkins being on the roster. While Pipkins was bad in the preseason, I at least understand that one. It is hard to cut a tackle when you only have four traditional tackles on the roster.
Brandon Staley obviously has a vision for this team and Tyron Johnson was not part of that vision. It is unfair to go from touting him as this next great head coach to then bashing him about roster decisions.
However, it is hard to see the reasoning behind Tyron Johnson not being on the LA Chargers, especially with the other roster decisions that have been made. The team intentionally went with a thin receiving room to get a third quarterback and fourth running back on the roster.