NFC East: NFL Roster Analysis 2012

Click here for the complete list of Washington Redskins roster moves.

Most significant move: The release of running back Tim Hightower was obviously a surprise, because he was the starting running back last season and the favorite to be so again if he'd been able to recover from ACL surgery. But he was not able to do so, and so the team made the decision to release him. That leaves Roy Helu, Evan Royster and rookie Alfred Morris as the only running backs (not counting fullback Darrel Young) on the roster. Which one will start Week 1? Your guess is as good as mine. Will each of the three get a turn as the starter at some point this season? Almost certainly. Might the Redskins add another one? Yeah, there was talk early Friday that they were trying to trade wide receiver Anthony Armstrong to the Dolphins for Steve Slaton. Didn't happen, and Armstrong was cut, but it shows they're on the lookout. The Redskins' running back situation remains far from settled, but they do like the three guys they have, as long as Helu and Royster can stay healthy. And I don't think they'd hesitate to start Morris in a game right now.

Onward and upward: Armstrong has some experience and the kind of speed that will make other teams take notice. He was beaten out by Aldrick Robinson and Brandon Banks, and it's not as though the Redskins cut him because they didn't like him. They felt they had too many good options at wide receiver this season. ... Linebacker Bryan Kehl might have impressed some people with his performance in preseason games.

What's next: Well, the Redskins cut all the way to 52 players, which means they have one more spot to fill. Could be they find that veteran running back. Maybe they bring back tight end Chris Cooley at a lower salary if he deosn't find work elsewhere. Maybe they try to find a safety to replace the suspended Tanard Jackson. Not sure what their plan is for that spot, but it shouldn't be long before we find out.

New York Giants cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
9:28
PM ET
Click here for the complete list of New York Giants' roster moves.


Most significant move: The Giants announced they have placed cornerback Terrell Thomas on injured reserve, and not the new, temporary kind. Thomas will miss his second consecutive season due to his inability to make a full recovery from last summer's knee surgery. It's an incredibly disappointing result for Thomas, who had hoped to be ready for the regular-season opener but suffered a setback in his recovery early in camp and now can hope to return to the field no sooner than 2013. He is not eligible to return after eight weeks per the new IR rule, because he is not a member of the 53-man roster that was submitted Friday night. The same is true of defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who started camp strong but was shut down with a blood clot in his leg. He's also on full-season injured reserve. ... Defensive end Adewale Ojomo and safety Will Hill, both serious long shots entering camp, made the roster.

Onward and upward: Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com suggested early Friday that the Cowboys could have interest in wide receiver David Douglas if the Giants were to cut him. They did, and he looked to be a speedy and useful special-teams performer when he was on the field in preseason. He should draw interest, be it in Dallas or elsewhere. ... D.J. Ware is a running back with some NFL experience who theoretically could draw interest from another team in need of running back help. He lost his spot to Andre Brown, who had a better camp, and Da'Rel Scott, who's too important on special teams to cut.

What's next: Defensive tackle Marvin Austin, who's out with a back injury, made the roster but could be a candidate for that short-term IR designation. ... The Giants were said Friday to be looking for offensive line help. Even though left tackle Will Beatty now could be ready to play in Wednesday's season opener, they remain thin at tackle and on the line in general.

Dallas Cowboys cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
9:09
PM ET
Click here for the complete list of Dallas Cowboys roster moves.

Most significant move: When the Cowboys drafted wide receiver Danny Coale in the fifth round, some thought he might get himself into the No. 3 wide receiver mix. The fact that he could not says a lot about the wide receivers the Cowboys already had and that they kept at the cut deadline. Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Andre Holmes and Cole Beasley all performed admirably in training camp and in preseason games while competing for reps and jobs, and because of that, not only was Coale expendable, but the Cowboys feel a lot better about their wide receiver depth going into the season than they might have felt a few months ago.

Onward and upward: Adrian Hamilton, the undrafted pass-rusher who had the big numbers last year at Prairie View A&M, looked like a potentially helpful guy, and his ability to get to the quarterback is likely to make him interesting to some other team. The main reason he didn't make the Cowboys' roster was probably his inability to help on special teams. But he looked like a playmaker when on the field, and I wouldn't be surprised if he drew some interest. ... It's a surprise to some that third quarterback Stephen McGee was kept, but he could be the first one to go if the Cowboys add an offensive lineman off someone else's cut list.

What's next: Other than potentially adding to their offensive line depth or looking for upgrades there, there's not much for the Cowboys to do at this point. And the acquisition of Ryan Cook from Miami in exchange for a seventh-round pick early Friday addressed the offensive line depth by adding a versatile backup who can play center, which David Arkin can't yet do. I think they might take a look at a veteran center such as Dan Koppen, who was cut by the Patriots and probably would be an upgrade over starter Phil Costa. But they like Costa and believe he can improve, and they don't appear to be ready to give up on him at this point. Which is fine. I think the Cowboys are focused more on the long term anyway.
Click here for a complete list of Philadelphia Eagles roster moves.

Most significant move: Mike Kafka went into training camp as the favorite to be the backup quarterback behind Michael Vick. But a combination of events led to Kafka's release Friday. First, he broke his hand in the first preseason game. Second, rookie Nick Foles impressed enough that the Eagles are now comfortable with him as their No. 2 quarterback. And third, Trent Edwards played well enough to convince the Eagles to keep him as a backup quarterback over Kafka. Backup quarterback is a significant position for the Eagles, as Vick has a history of missing games due to injury and there exists a strong chance that Foles and/or Edwards will have to start games for them this season. ... The answer to which defensive lineman had to go was defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, who was the final cut announced by the team shortly before 8 p.m. ET. That means Cedric Thornton and Darryl Tapp are still on the team, and the Eagles as of now have 10 defensive linemen.

Onward and upward: Nickel cornerback Joselio Hanson was cut on this day last year, too, but was immediately brought back at a lower salary. This year, that does not seem likely to happen. This time, it appears rookie Brandon Boykin beat out Hanson for the nickel corner spot, in part because he played well there and in part because of his usefulness as a returner and special-teams player. Hanson didn't have a great year in 2011, but he looked like a good nickel corner as recently as 2010 and likely could help someone. I wonder whether the Giants take a look, given their issues with health at cornerback.

What's next: Having cut both O.J. Atogwe (who couldn't stay healthy) and undrafted rookie Phillip Thomas, the Eagles are thin at safety. The only current backup to the starters is still-unproven Jaiquawn Jarrett, and even if they believed him capable, they'd want at least one more. Look for the Eagles to troll the list of other cuts to see whether there's someone out there who can help them beef up their bench a bit in the secondary.

UPDATE: Shortly after the cut deadline, the Eagles announced they'd acquired safety David Sims from the Browns for a conditional 2013 draft pick and released offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider