NFC North: Cut to 75

The Green Bay Packers achieved Monday's roster cutdown to 75 players mostly by placing injured players on various reserve lists. The full lowdown is on the Packers' website.

Linebacker Desmond Bishop's season officially came to an end when he was placed on injured reserve. There had been some hope that Bishop could return in the second half of the season under a proposed rule that would have created a new injury list for one player per team, but the NFL and NFL Players Association could not agree on the details. As in previous years, players placed on injured reserve must miss the entire season.

Meanwhile, tight end Andrew Quarless and linebacker Frank Zombo will have their stints on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list extended for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. On the plus side, the Packers did not place offensive lineman Derek Sherrod on the PUP list, offering at least some hope that his return could be close after suffering a devastating leg injury last December.

One of two players released outright was defensive end Jarius Wynn, who fell behind C.J. Wilson in the competition to play defensive end in the base defense. He started four games last season.

Lions cutdown: Jahvid Best to PUP

August, 27, 2012
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We noted the first phase of the Detroit Lions' roster cutdown earlier Monday. The second phase, spelled out in full on the team's website, mostly consisted of placing injured players on various reserve lists.

At the top of list is running back Jahvid Best, who ended up on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, as ESPN's Adam Schefter reported he would two weeks ago. Best, who hasn't been cleared for contact 10 months after suffering a concussion, is ineligible to play for the first six weeks of the season. At that point, a three-week window will open during which he can begin practicing. After that, another three-week window opens for the Lions to either add him to their roster or end his season.

The Lions also placed cornerback Chris Greenwood, their fifth-round draft pick, on the PUP list because of an abdominal injury. Offensive lineman Bill Nagy, a promising prospect claimed earlier this month from the Dallas Cowboys, was placed on injured reserve and will miss the season.

Meanwhile, the Lions have yet to confirm reports from Washington, D.C., where Redskins cornerback Kevin Barnes told multiple media outlets he had been traded to the Lions.

Lions part ways with 10 players

August, 27, 2012
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The Detroit Lions' first round of roster cuts, which are still in progress at the moment, didn't include any big surprises.

The first 10 names are on the Lions' website, and apparently they'll take the next few hours to complete the process of reducing to 75 players. The release of place-kicker Derek Dimke means that Jason Hanson has secured the Lions' kicking job, and the departure of veteran safety Sean Jones reinforces the idea that the Lions are prepared to use Erik Coleman and John Wendling as their Week 1 safeties.

I'll do my best to keep you updated without overwhelming those of you who aren't inspired by the initial roster cuts of the summer. Here's a handy one-stop link to our previous posts on the 75-man cutdown deadline.
We now have roster moves reported from three of our four precincts as the NFL's first cutdown deadline approaches Monday afternoon. The Minnesota Vikings are at 75 players, the Green Bay Packers are at 85 players and the Chicago Bears, as of Sunday afternoon, were at 76.

The Bears got there by cutting nine players -- the full list, with no surprises, from ESPNChicago.com -- and dealing with two injured players. Rookie safety Brandon Hardin, the Bears' third-round draft pick, was placed on injured reserve because of a neck injury he suffered Aug. 18. Meanwhile, receiver Johnny Knox was shifted to the version of the physically unable to perform list that applies to the regular season.

Knox, who suffered a serious back injury last year, is now ineligible to play in the first six games of the season. No one has ruled Knox out for the season, but given the severity of his injury, it would be quite an achievement if he plays in 2012.

We had included Hardin in our Rookie Buzz series because at 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds, he has the kind of build to match up against the big receivers and tight ends in this division. Now, he will attempt to come back in 2013 after missing two full seasons of football. He didn't play last season at Oregon State because of a shoulder injury.

We'll keep you updated on the continued comings and goings over the next 24 hours.
The steady stream of NFC North roster reductions began Friday with five cuts from the Green Bay Packers. Moves will continue until Monday afternoon, when all teams must reach the 75-man limit, and I'll do my best to keep you up to speed on the goings (and perhaps a few comings).

Saturday afternoon, the Minnesota Vikings cleared 15 players from their roster. The full list can be found on the team's website, and there are no surprises. The biggest names were linebacker Solomon Elimimian, once a star in the CFL, and running back Derrick Coleman.

As you might recall, we noted in April that Coleman had a successful career at UCLA despite severe hearing impairments that require him to read lips in the huddle.

We'll keep you updated throughout the weekend, as teams announce their moves and/or we learn about them elsewhere.
About an hour after we noted the Green Bay Packers had turned their attention toward the composition of their roster, the team announced five roster cuts. By far the most notable name was defensive end Anthony Hargrove, a rare free-agent acquisition who learned a few weeks after he signed with the team that he would be suspended eight games as part of the NFL's discipline for the New Orleans Saints bounty program.

Hillis
Hargrove
The Packers had the option of carrying Hargrove on their suspended list once the season began. He wouldn't have counted against their 53-man roster during that time period, but it was also clear that the looming suspension had created a roadblock. The Packers gave him only a handful of snaps in team periods, acknowledging they needed to distribute them instead to players who were eligible to start the season. In many ways, the Packers were forced to move on.

I don't blame the Packers for taking care of the team first. But for what it's worth, I agree with a thought tweeted out this evening by Albert Breer of the NFL Network, who suggested the release "could raise some legal liability for NFL tied to the Saints' bounty situation."

We've spent a lot of time picking through the evidence the NFL presented against Hargrove, most of which was easy to poke holes in. In the end, it was difficult to understand explicitly what exactly Hargrove was suspended for.

A reasonable person could put two and two together and suggest Hargrove wouldn't have been released Friday if he hadn't been suspended. In other words, the bounty discipline has significantly impacted Hargrove's career. We'll see if that leads anywhere from a legal perspective.

Note: The other four players released were receiver Andrew Brewer, safety Micah Pellerin, tackle Herb Taylor and cornerback Dion Turner.

Packers turn attention to roster

August, 24, 2012
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As we noted Friday in discussing the NFL's officiating situation, intensity around the NFL starts picking up once a team's third preseason game is complete. The first round of cuts, from 90 to 75 players, is Monday. The fourth preseason game for most teams is Thursday, and rosters must be trimmed to 53 by Friday night at 9 p.m. ET.

After arriving home from Cincinnati on Friday morning, the Green Bay Packers immediately began personnel meetings to discuss the next roster steps. Coach Mike McCarthy offered a few tidbits during a Friday afternoon session with reporters:
  1. McCarthy said that linebacker Desmond Bishop's situation "will probably resolve here in the next 48 hours or so." That suggests Bishop, who recently had surgery on his hamstring, could be placed on injured reserve to save a roster spot by Monday.
  2. Cornerback Davon House, who suffered a shoulder injury two weeks ago, is improving but there is no clear timetable for his return. Surgery could still be an option.
  3. Tight end Tom Crabtree's shoulder injury does not appear serious, but defensive end Ryan Pickett suffered a calf injury that will probably cause him to miss some time.
  4. McCarthy didn't award Graham Harrell the backup quarterback job, but he told reporters: "We don't make roster decisions today. There's still plenty of work to be done. We have three more practices. We have a game. Graham will play in that game, will have more opportunities. Graham Harrell improved from the first two weeks last night. He graded out higher than the first two weeks, so he’s making improvement." Again, the Packers are far less worried about Harrell than others might be.

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