NFC West: Tim Mattran

NFC West practice squad eligibility

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
10:56
AM ET
NFL teams can begin signing eight or fewer players to their practice squads once the players clear waivers Sunday.

Players on practice squads earn $5,200 per week for the 2010 season. The collective bargaining agreement sets the following parameters for eligibility:
  • Players without an accrued season of NFL experience;
  • Free-agent players who were on the 45-man active list for fewer than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season;
  • Players who have not served more than two previous seasons on a practice squad.

According to the CBA, "A player shall be deemed to have served on a practice squad in a season if he has passed the club's physical and been a member of the club's practice squad for at least three regular-season or postseason games during his first two practice squad seasons, and for at least one regular season or postseason game during his third practice squad season."

What about bye weeks? More CBA: "A bye week counts as a game provided that the player is not terminated until after the regular-season or postseason weekend in question."

The first chart shows eligible players released by the Arizona Cardinals. Chris Johnson, Alfonso Smith and Mark Washington were waived/injured. Dean Muhtadi was released from injured reserve.


The second chart shows eligible players released by the Rams.


The third chart shows eligible players released by the 49ers (Brandon Long was released with an injury settlement).


The fourth chart shows eligible players released by the Seahawks (Jonathan Lewis was released with an injury settlement).

Post-camp roster analysis: Rams

September, 1, 2010
9/01/10
3:29
PM ET
The St. Louis Rams hold the No. 1 priority for waiver claims and they'll probably put that status to work following the mandatory reduction to 53 players Saturday.

With that in mind, let's take a position-by-position look at the Rams' roster heading into their second season under coach Steve Spagnuolo (current roster counts listed in parentheses):

Quarterbacks (4)

Average number kept since 2003: 2.9

Keepers: Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley

Looking safe: Keith Null

On the bubble: Thaddeus Lewis

Comment: Lewis has played well enough to intrigue the Rams, but probably not well enough for another team to claim him off waivers. That makes Lewis a natural choice for the practice squad.

Running backs (5)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: Steven Jackson, Mike Karney

Looking safe: Kenneth Darby

Not sure what to think: Keith Toston, Chris Ogbonnaya

Comment: The Rams are carrying as many running backs as teams typically keep, but multiple spots could be up for grabs depending on which running backs become available via waivers. I'd rather list Toston, Ogbonnaya and Darby in one group until it becomes clear which backs -- and which types of backs -- hit the waiver wire. Ogbonnaya showed potential last season and looked good early in camp, but his performance hasn't carried over to exhibition games and that could cost him. Perhaps expectations were too high. Darby's toughness and special-teams contributions could help him. Toston runs hard and could land on the practice squad.

Wide receivers (9)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: Laurent Robinson, Mardy Gilyard, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Keenan Burton

On the bubble: Dominique Curry

Also: Brandon McRae, Jordan Kent, Danario Alexander

Comment: Curry stood out as an undrafted steal during camp. He has excellent size and has showed good ability on special teams. Burton's durability should remain a concern, but that's the case with Robinson and even Gibson at this point. Gibson's value rises with Donnie Avery on injured reserve.

Tight ends (6)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.0

Keepers: Billy Bajema, Mike Hoomanawanui

Looking safe: Fendi Onobun

Not sure what to think: Daniel Fells, Darcy Johnson

Also: Dennis Morris

Comment: But wait, Fells is the incumbent starter, right? Yes, but he hasn't been durable and there's so much to like about the rookies Onobun and Hoomanawanui. Bajema is an obvious keeper for his blocking and all-around game (he has caught the ball well on limited chances). Johnson has shown toughness and blocking ability, so he could be an option if the team wants to move on from Fells. Perhaps I'm over thinking things here, but the emergence of Onobun and Hoomanawanui during camp creates dilemmas.

Offensive linemen (13)

Average number kept since 2003: 9.3

Keepers: Jason Brown, Jacob Bell, Rodger Saffold, Jason Smith, Adam Goldberg, Hank Fraley

Looking safe: John Greco, Roger Allen III

Also: Eric Young, Drew Miller, Ryan McKee, Renardo Foster, Tim Mattran

Comment: It's tough finding nine keepers here, so the Rams could be active in the waiver-claim game. Greco's versatility works in his favor. Are the Rams still high on Allen's prospects? I know they liked him last season, but that was before reconstructive knee surgery. Trading Alex Barron made sense in the big picture, but the Rams would have better depth here if Barron were still around.

Defensive line (12)

Average number kept since 2003: 8.6

Keepers: Chris Long, Fred Robbins, Clifton Ryan, James Hall, Gary Gibson, Darell Scott

Looking safe: George Selvie

On the bubble: Victor Adeyanju, C.J. Ah You, Jermelle Cudjo

Also: Ernest Reid, Eugene Sims

Comment: Durability concerns could cost Ah You. Adeyanju also could be on the bubble depending on what options the Rams have beyond their own roster. Cudjo has made a positive impression during camp and preseason. Same goes for Selvie, although an injury sidelined him part of the time.

Linebackers (9)

Average number kept since 2003: 6.3

Keepers: James Laurinaitis, Larry Grant, Na'il Diggs, Chris Chamberlain

Looking safe: Bobby Carpenter

On the bubble: David Vobora, Josh Hull

Also: Devin Bishop, Cardia Jackson

Comment: Carpenter has gotten some work at defensive end. Perhaps his presence in an emergency capacity at that position could allow the Rams to keep one fewer defensive lineman, at least early. Chamberlain is probably the best special-teams position player on the Rams, enhancing his value. Hull could provide depth behind Laurinaitis because he's a true middle linebacker, whereas Vobora can back up every position. That could be a close call.

Defensive backs (14)

Average number kept since 2003: 9.7

Keepers: Oshiomogho Atogwe, Ron Bartell, Justin King, Bradley Fletcher, James Butler, Kevin Payne, Craig Dahl, Jerome Murphy, Kevin Dockery

Looking safe: Quincy Butler

On the bubble: Darian Stewart

Also: Brett Johnson, Marquis Johnson, Antoine Thompson

Comment: James Butler's knee injury probably makes keeping Payne a higher priority. Stewart could be a candidate for the practice squad.

Specialists (3)

Average number kept since 2003: 2.7

Keepers: Josh Brown, Donnie Jones, Chris Massey

Comment: Strong group here.

Parrish, Okeafor among UFL choices

June, 3, 2010
6/03/10
10:34
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There's always the UFL if the Detroit Lions aren't there to embrace NFC West castoffs.

I counted nine former NFC West players among the 60 chosen in the 2010 UFL draft Wednesday (story here).

Tony Parrish's love for the game might be admirable and it's his business how he wants to earn a living. As someone who admired his contributions to the 49ers years ago, though, I had a hard time picturing the former ball-hawking safety, out of the NFL since 2006, playing out his career with the Las Vegas Locomotives at age 34.

Parrish won a UFL championship with Las Vegas last season.

The chart breaks out UFL choices with NFC West ties. Former Cardinals coach Dennis Green is coaching the Sacramento Mountain Lions. Each team was allowed to protect 20 holdovers from last season heading into the 2010 draft.

Catching up with the Rams' cut list

September, 10, 2009
9/10/09
11:25
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Rams Player Released on Cutdown Pos. Current Team Capacity
Phil Trautwein
OL Browns Active Roster
Brock Berlin
QB Lions Practice Squad
Roy Schuening
OL Raiders Practice Squad
K.C. Asiodu
LB Rams Practice Squad
Eric Butler
TE Rams Practice Squad
Dominic Douglas
LB Rams Practice Squad
Chris Ogbonnaya
RB Rams Practice Squad
Sean Walker
WR Rams Practice Squad
Antwon Burton
DL -- --
Ian Campbell
DL -- --
Renardo Foster
OL -- --
Jerome Johnson
RB -- --
Tim Mattran
OL -- --
Cord Parks
DB -- --
Antonio Pittman
RB -- --
Mark Rubin
DB -- --
Tim Carter
WR -- --
Ronald Curry
WR -- --
Todd Johnson
DB -- --

The Rams' depth on the offensive line might be better than anticipated for a team with a 5-27 record over the past two seasons.

The team is carrying 10 offensive linemen, one more than typical, while John Greco recovers from wrist surgery.

An 11th, Phil Trautwein, landed on the Browns' active roster when Cleveland claimed him off waivers. A 12th, Roy Schuening, signed with the Raiders' practice squad. Another, tackle Renardo Foster, would seem to be a candidate for catching on somewhere eventually.

I've gone through the initial NFC West cut lists -- those players released at the 53-man deadline -- to see which ones have returned to their teams or caught on elsewhere.

The chart shows results for St. Louis.

Quarterback Brock Berlin signed to the Lions' practice squad after the Rams released him. Defensive lineman Ian Campbell briefly spent time on the Rams' practice squad before the team released him.

A few veterans -- running back Antonio Pittman, receiver Tim Carter, receiver Ronald Curry and special-teamer Todd Johnson -- remain available.

Ex-Rams with practice-squad eligibility

September, 6, 2009
9/06/09
10:59
AM ET
Ex-Rams eligible for
practice squad
Pos.
K.C. Asiodu
LB
Brock Berlin
QB
Eric Butler
TE
Ian Campbell
DL
Dominic Douglas
LB
Renardo Foster
OL
Jerome Johnson
FB
Tim Mattran
OL
Chris Ogbonnaya
RB
Cordelius Parks
DB
Mark Rubin
DB
Roy Schuening
OL
Phil Trautwein
OL
Sean Walker
WR

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


NFL teams can begin forming eight-man practice squads once released players clear waivers this afternoon.

I've put together a list of recently released Rams players with eligibility for the practice squad. Each was released on the reduction to 53 players.

The decision to keep rookie quarterback Keith Null on the 53-man roster meant releasing Brock Berlin. Does that mean Berlin is finished with the Rams? It could, but the quarterback does remain eligible for the practice squad.

Running back Chris Ogbonnaya seems like a natural candidate. With a new coaching staff and relatively new front office, the Rams could be more likely to consider players from other rosters. Coach Steve Spagnuolo was with the Giants last season. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was with the Eagles. Defensive coordinator Ken Flajole was with the Panthers. Those ties could influence the Rams' thinking.

Rams: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
3:49
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Biggest surprise: The Rams cut former special-teams captain Todd Johnson, a safety, and they also flushed out two veteran receivers they hoped would contribute, Ronald Curry and Tim Carter. Keeping rookie quarterback Keith Null over the more experienced Brock Berlin made sense because the Rams' top two quarterbacks, Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller, have lots of seasoning. The biggest roster surprise came when the team traded 2006 first-round cornerback Tye Hill to the Falcons. Free-agent addition Quincy Butler stuck on the 53-man roster after a strong training camp and preseason. He looked better than Hill, frankly, and the Rams' new leadership wasn't afraid to part with symbols of past failures. Placing defensive tackle Adam Carriker on injured reserve cleared another spot.

No-brainers: The Rams also released linebacker K.C. Asiodu, defensive tackle Antwon Burton, tight end Eric Butler, defensive end Ian Campbell, linebacker Dominic Douglas, tackle Renardo Foster, fullback Jerome Johnson, center Tim Mattran, running back Chris Ogbonnaya, cornerback Cord Parks, running back Antonio Pittman, safety Mark Rubin, guard Roy Schuening, tackle Phil Trautwein and receiver Sean Walker.

What's next: The Rams still need to make one move by the 6 p.m. ET deadline for complying with the 53-man limit. With only four running backs on the roster, counting fullback Mike Karney, the team probably needs to seek help at the position. Backup Samkon Gado suffered injured ribs in the final exhibition game. The Rams lack quality depth and they are starting over. As a result, the team could pursue players released from other teams.

Update: The Rams placed defensive lineman Eric Moore on injured reserve to comply with the 53-man limit.

Quick notes on potential NFC West cuts

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
2:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


While receiver Ronald Curry's brief run with the Rams could be in jeopardy, the Seahawks plan to keep their entire 2009 draft class and veteran receiver Deion Branch, whose status was not in serious jeopardy.

A few of the Rams' cuts are also trickling out. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch provides this list: quarterback Brock Berlin, guard Roy Schuening, center Tim Mattran, offensive tackle Renardo Foster and fullback Jerome Johnson.

No surprises there. Keeping Berlin on the 53-man roster and signing Keith Null to the practice squad could have made sense, but with two experienced quarterbacks already on the roster, Null can become the developmental No. 3 passer without the team exposing him to waivers.

Practice-squad report: Rams

August, 21, 2009
8/21/09
10:14
AM ET
Rams eligible for
practice squad
Pos. Perceived Status
Marcus Brown
DB
Likely cut
Bradley Fletcher
DB Keeper
Justin King
DB Keeper
Cord Parks
DB Likely cut
David Roach
DB Likely cut
Mark Rubin
DB Likely cut
C.J. Ah You
DL Bubble
Ian Campbell
DL Likely cut
Eric Moore
DL Likely cut
Darell Scott
DL Keeper
K.C. Asiodu
LB Likely cut
Dominic Douglas
LB Likely cut
Larry Grant
LB Keeper
Jerome Johnson
LB
Likely cut
James Laurinaitis LB Keeper
Davd Vobora
LB Keeper
Tim Mattran
OL Likely cut
Daniel Sanders
OL Likely cut
Roger Allen
OL Bubble
Roy Schuening
OL Keeper
Mark Setterstrom
OL Keeper
Renardo Foster
OL Bubble
Jason Smith OL Keeper
Phil Trautwein
OL Likely cut
Eric Young
OL Likely cut
Brock Berlin
QB Bubble
Keith Null
QB
Bubble
Chris Ogbonnaya
RB Bubble
Eric Butler TE Likely cut
Jarrett Byers
WR Likely cut
Brooks Foster
WR Bubble
Nate Jones
WR Bubble
Sean Walker
WR Bubble

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

More Rams players are eligible for the practice squad this summer after the team parted with a long list of aging veterans this offseason.

The chart shows all 33 current Rams players with eligibility, arranged by position. The team had 24 players eligible when I produced a similar list nearly one year ago.

The lists come in handy when analyzing battles for the final few roster spots. I've added loose status descriptions for eligible players based on my general expectations.

To review: NFL teams must reduce rosters from 80 to 75 players Sept. 1. They must reduce to 53 players Sept. 5. They can begin forming eight-man practice squads Sept. 6 at noon ET.

The league explains the process this way:

"After 12 noon, New York time, clubs may establish a practice squad of eight players by signing free agents who do not have an accrued season of free-agency credit or who were on the 45-player active list for less than nine regular-season games during their only accrued season(s). A player cannot participate on the practice squad for more than three seasons."

The Rams have only one running back, seventh-round choice Chris Ogbonnaya, with practice-squad eligibility. Eight other NFC West running backs have eligibility.

I'll break out corresponding lists for the rest of the division, answering a frequently posed question that follows a familiar format: "Is so-and-so eligible for the practice squad?"

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams' roster requires additional study after a thorough house-cleaning this offseason. With so many new faces, I feel less familiar with the Rams than with the other teams in the division. This initial look at the roster will hopefully help bring some focus.

Donnie Avery's injury and overall health concerns at receiver could influence how many players the Rams carry into the season at the position.

Marc Bulger's broken pinky shouldn't affect the roster as long as he recovers on schedule. Teams must reduce to 75 players by Sept. 1 and 53 players by Sept. 5. Those initial 53-man rosters sometimes change by Week 1 kickoffs. For that reason, I've been focusing on Week 1 rosters when setting baseline expectations for each position.

St. Louis Rams
Week 1 Roster
Counts since 2003
QB RB WR TE OL DL LB DB ST
Fewest 2 5 5 2 9 8 5 8 2
Most 3 7 6 4 10 9 7 11 3
Average 2.8 5.5 5.5 3.0 9.2 8.3 6.3 9.7 2.7
Currently on roster
4
7 10 5 15 13 9 14 3

T
he chart provides a framework for how many players the Rams might keep at each position heading into the regular-season opener against the Seahawks.

Here's a quick look at which Rams players I might keep on the cutdown to 53 players:

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Marc Bulger has suffered more sacks since 2003 than any NFL quarterback. The Jets sacked him three times in seven dropbacks during the exhibition opener, thanks largely to problems in blitz pickup. The problems running backs had in protection could be addressed through the type of game planning that takes place during the regular season, in my view.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Kenneth Darby worked mostly with the third team after a rough outing in the Rams' exhibition opener. Coats: "RB Samkon Gado, who had a big game vs. the Jets, took some snaps with the No. 1 offense. Antonio Pittman, who also had a nice outing Friday, and Gado shared second-team reps. Darby, who struggled in the preseason opener, spent most of his time with the third unit."

Brian Stull of 101ESPN in St. Louis provides a Rams-related injury update, with audio. Stull: "Jacob Bell was still a little fuzzy from his concussion and underwent the testing to compare to his initial baseline results. In his absence, Mark Setterstrom moved to left guard. Tim Mattran took Setterstrom's reps at center with the 2s while John Greco handled the snaps with the 3s."

The 49ers' Web site provides a transcript from Mike Singletary's conference call with reporters Sunday. On rookie linebacker Scott McKillop: "I see a young guy that's trying to have the game slow down for him. He continues to work on his technique and all of the little things that he needs to do in order to make this football team and make a contribution in his first year. He's trying to make calls. So, right now, the game is big for him, not too big, but it's big, and for him, he's trying to get it to slow down a bit so that he can get his eyes in the right place and get the correct reads. I think right now that's the biggest thing for him."

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Broncos weren't a very good measuring stick for the 49ers in the exhibition opener.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the Eagles were thought to be among the teams with interest in Thomas Clayton before the running back suffered a season-ending injury Friday night.

Also from Maiocco: Score the 49ers' exhibition opener for Shaun Hill. Maiocco: "Even into the first week of training camp, I had my questions whether Hill could fit Jimmy Raye's offense. It is essential that the quarterback be able to get the ball down the field to keep defenses from stacking the box against the 49ers' power-running game. Hill is showing more and more every day that he can do that."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals running back Beanie Wells was back at practice Sunday, but coaches held him out of team drills. Wells wanted to do more in his first practice back from an ankle injury. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "I think Beanie is going to be begging to get some reps off here in the near future. So be careful what you wish for, right?"

Also from Somers: Receiver Early Doucet could return from a shoulder injury this week.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Steve Breaston's right knee has some swelling. The bone bruise is more problematic than the posterior-cruciate ligament sprain. The Cardinals have not ruled out Breaston for their next exhibition game, however.

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com had this to say about the Seahawks' exhibition opener: "I wasn't impressed by young Deon Butler on kick returns as he didn't look comfortable yet and Brandon Coutu's kickoffs weren't as long as he'll need to be to beat out Olindo Mare, though he continues to be very accurate on medium-range field goals."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times looks at the Seahawks' numbers at defensive end, where Nick Reed is making a push for a roster spot.

John Morgan of Field Gulls offers five observations from Seattle's opener. He also noticed fullback Owen Schmitt's cut blocking in the run game.

Also from Morgan: Brandon Mebane's speed set up Cory Redding for a sack on the Seattle defense's first play of the game.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The Rams practiced in pads Tuesday morning, perhaps their final practice with live tackling before they get into the preseason routine.

A few things I noticed:

  • Coach Steve Spagnuolo is everywhere. He bounces from one positional group to another, sometimes running 50 yards at a time between stations. He offers personal instruction in some of the defensive groups, particularly the secondary. Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher received one-on-one instruction from Spagnuolo in this practice.
  • Linebacker Will Witherspoon was easily the most impressive linebacker. He caused problems rushing the passer and taking down running backs behind the line of scrimmage. Veteran linebacker Chris Draft sat out this practice after taking a thumb to the throat. The Rams are having the injury checked out as a precaution.
  • Linebacker Larry Grant picked off a Marc Bulger pass near the goal line and would have had a big return. Grant also blew up a running play, stuffing Kenneth Darby. The early camp reports about Grant making a positive impression held true.
  • The Rams change up their personnel at tight end frequently. I'm not sure if they were just resting starter Randy McMichael, but there were times when he wasn't part of double-tight end groups. McMichael is the most established receving threat at the position. He did drop a pass Tuesday, though.
  • Cornerback Tye Hill had some problems with swelling in his surgically repaired knee, Spagnuolo said. I watched receiver Nate Jones beat Hill for a touchdown despite relatively tight coverage. The Rams would like Hill to contest such plays more aggressively. "Compete!" was an order heard often in drills pitting cornerbacks against receivers. In this case, Hill was hurting. He did not finish practice.
  • Injured receiver Donnie Avery took off his walking boot for some conditioning drills, including while laying on his back and raising a medicine ball held between his ankles.
  • Keenan Burton and Tim Carter were getting work at flanker, with Laurent Robinson at split end.
  • The Rams' West Coast offense uses the same terminology for personnel groups as the one Mike Holmgren ran in Seattle for nine years. The Seahawks have new terminology this season.
  • Derek Stanley is practicing without a sleeve or brace on his surgically repaired knee. The coaching staff would like him to continue working on ball security and finishing plays. Spagnuolo praised Stanley for his progress in those areas.
  • Running back Samkon Gado is getting extra work while an ankle injury limits fullback Mike Karney. Gado willingly slammed into middle linebacker James Laurinaitis while lead blocking for Steven Jackson. The staff has been pleased with Gado's versatility, although Gado did muff a kickoff late in practice.
  • Second-year defensive end Chris Long did not stand out during one-on-one pass-rush drills. Left tackle Alex Barron seemed to handle Long effectively. Backup defensive linemen Eric Moore, Victor Adeyanju and Ian Campbell blew past backup offensive linemen Renardo Foster, Daniel Sanders and Eric Young, respectively. Hollis Thomas badly beat center Tim Mattran, while Gary Gibson beat guard Roger Allen III.
  • First-round choice Jason Smith continues working with the second-team offense at right tackle. He handled Campbell in one-on-one pass rush. Smith did not work against starting defensive ends in that drill Tuesday.
  • Defensive end Leonard Little would have had a free shot on Bulger when the first-team offense faced the first-team defense in modified live drills (I say modified because tackling was live for running plays, not passing plays, while quarterbacks were off-limits to contact, as usual). Right tackle Adam Goldberg wasn't necessarily to blame for Little racing into the backfield untouched. He blocked to the inside.
The Rams have a special-teams session scheduled for this afternoon. Also, I'll be speaking with Bernie Miklasz of 101ESPN at about 1:20 p.m. CT. Listen live.

Roster glance: Seahawks loading up

March, 16, 2009
3/16/09
4:40
PM ET
Pos. Cardinals 49ers Rams Seahawks
QB 4
3 3
3
RB 6 5 6 4
WR 8 7 6 10
TE 4 3 4
4
OL 8 11 8
11
DL 9 6 10
11
LB 6
9 7 6
DB 11 11 11 11
ST 4 5 3 5
Totals 60 60 58 65

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The 49ers added safety Lewis Baker and linebacker Mark Washington.

The Cardinals added running back Jason Wright.

The Rams signed offensive lineman Mark Setterstrom, defensive end Eric Moore, quarterback Jeff Otis, defensive back Marcus Brown, tight end Eric Butler and center Tim Mattran.

Those moves, announced by the teams Monday, are reflected in the chart at right.

The Rams' signings bring their numbers in line with division averages.

The Seahawks' numbers on both lines are heavy. They also have more receivers than any team in the division.

Seattle tends to load up on players before the draft, seeking maximum flexibility and security. The Seahawks have 65 players and seven known draft choices, plus a few compensatory picks. Unsigned draft choices do not count against the 80-man offseason limit, allowing teams to carry additional players through minicamps.

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