NFL Nation: NFL cuts 082713
Another roster shake-up is coming with the deadline to get to 53 players set for this Saturday, but for now, let's examine where things stand with a roster reset.
Quarterbacks (3): Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Tim Tebow
Quick-hit: It seems unlikely that we'll see much of Brady during the preseason finale, leaving plenty of snaps for Mallett and Tebow.
Quick-hit: It seems plausible that the team could keep five backs on the active roster, though Thursday night is important for reserve running backs to state their case.
Fullbacks (2): James Develin, Ben Bartholomew
Quick-hit: Could one of these two be the player to buck the Patriots recent trend of not carrying a fullback at the outset of the season?
Wide receivers (8): Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson, Matthew Slater, Quentin Sims, Johnathan Haggerty
Quick-hit: This position group has come into focus throughout camp, as the progress of the rookies has impressed.
Tight end (5): Rob Gronkowski (PUP), Jake Ballard, Zach Sudfeld, Michael Hoomanawanui, Daniel Fells
Quick-hit: We'll be closely monitoring the team's plan with Gronkowski; will he start the season on PUP?
Offensive line (11): Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Sebastian Vollmer, Will Svitek, Marcus Cannon, Chris McDonald, Luke Patterson, Josh Kline, Matt Stankiewitch.
Quick-hit: It seems likely that the team could keep just seven linemen to open the regular season.
Defensive ends (7): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Justin Francis, Marcus Benard, Jermaine Cunningham, Michael Buchanan, Jake Bequette
Quick-hit: Cunningham returned to practice on Monday, and he'll need to show enough to cement his spot on the roster.
Defensive tackle (6): Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Marcus Forston, Joe Vellano, Scott Vallone, Gilbert Pena
Quick-hit: This is an area where the team could use some additional depth.
Linebacker (8): Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Dane Fletcher, Steve Beauharnais, Mike Rivera, Jeff Tarpinian
Quick-hit: The starting trio is set, with quality reserve players as well.
Cornerback (9): Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Marquice Cole, Ras-I Dowling, Stephon Morris, LeQuan Lewis, Justin Green
Quick-hit: Dennard had a probation hearing moved to Sept. 6, just two days before the season opener. That could affect the depth chart.
Safety (7): Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory, Adrian Wilson, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, Kanorris Davis,
Quick-hit: Harmon has quietly put together a productive training camp, which could lead to defensive snaps this season.
Specialists (4): Zoltan Mesko, Ryan Allen, Stephen Gostkowski, Danny Aiken
Quick-hit: The punting competition remains open, with Mesko seemingly in the lead.
Pena adds depth along the defensive line, where the Patriots had grown thin recently.
He was originally signed by the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss.
The Yonkers, N.Y., native is listed at 6-foot-4 and 317 pounds.
The Patriots now have six defensive tackles on their active roster: Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Marcus Forston, Joe Vellano, Scott Vallone and Pena.
The Redskins don’t have a need to develop another young quarterback, with their top two both in their second year. They like what Rex Grossman brings, both on the field and in the meeting room, as a No. 3 quarterback. The Redskins have done a good job calling plays for White, who is comfortable running the ball but inconsistent with his passing -- excellent on slants and digs but high on passes to the outside.
“Pat hasn’t been totally consistent in all his drops in the rhythm of the passing game,” Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “But he’s gotten better each week. He can still get a lot better.”
White is ineligible for the practice squad, but the Redskins are convinced he’ll be on some team’s roster this season.
“The more football he’s around, the more he works at it, the better he’ll get,” Shanahan said. “He’s as hard on himself as anyone I’ve been around. … It’s just a matter of time that he can be as good as he wants.”
In other Redskins news:
- Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett on veteran linebacker Nick Barnett: “He’s got great football instincts. He knows where to go, he flies around. He [doesn’t] know what he’s doing yet but he knows where the ball is. He just needs reps on the field and once he gets those he’s going to be fine. He’s a good player.”
- Haslett still likes his depth at corner even after the loss of Richard Crawford, out for the season after tearing his ACL, LCL and MCL in his left knee. Crawford would have been, at best, their fifth or sixth corner. “I feel good about Chase [Minnifield], I feel good about Jerome [Murphy],” Haslett said. “We’ve got enough guys that we’ll be fine.” Murphy has quietly had a good summer, particularly on special teams.
- Another name added to the list of possible punt returners: Josh Morgan. Coach Mike Shanahan said they might have him return a punt or two against Tampa Bay. However, Morgan has never returned a punt in the NFL (he has run back 15 kickoffs, including 13 in 2009 with San Francisco – and averaged 28.2 yards). But he did return punts at Virginia Tech.
- The Redskins reached the 75-man roster limit by waiving linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy and corner Ryan Mouton with injured designations and waived Jacolby Ashworth with an injury settlement. They also terminated the contract of tackle Jeremy Trueblood.
- The Redskins also moved defensive end Adam Carriker from the active/physically unable to perform list to the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Carriker does not count against their 75-man roster, but this still leaves open the possibility that he could return later in the season. Maurice Hurt, who is on the active/physically unable to perform list, does count against the 75.
Ramirez, who missed 10-of-16 kicks during Tuesday’s practice, was the only cut among the Packers’ nine roster moves that got them down to 75 players. Their remaining moves were injury related.
Just two days earlier, the Packers had three kickers on their roster. But after releasing Giorgio Tavecchio on Monday and Ramirez on Tuesday, they had only veteran Mason Crosby.
I’ll have more on whether Crosby nailed down the job or not in my practice report, which will be posted shortly.
To get down to the NFL-mandated 75 players by 4 p.m., the Packers placed four players on season-ending injured reserve: tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), receiver Kevin Dorsey (toe), running back DuJuan Harris (knee) and linebacker Jarvis Reed (ankle). And they moved four players to reserve/physically unable to perform: safety Sean Richardson (neck), tackle Derek Sherrod (leg), tackle JC Tretter (ankle) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (knee).
Players on PUP can begin practicing after Week 6 of the regular season and then have a five-week window during which they can return to practice. Once they begin practicing, teams have three weeks to decide whether to activate them. ESPN's Mike Sando has the full explanation of the PUP rules.
UPDATE: Per the NFL’s official transaction wire, both Dorsey and Reed were waived/injured. That means the team will eventually work out injury settlements with both players, which would pay them for a portion of the regular season that they would have missed due to their injuries. While it’s possible the Packers could re-sign them, injury settlements often mean the end of a player’s career with that team.
The chart shows how many players each team from the division is carrying by position. Note that figures for defensive lineman and linebacker can be tricky, so a generic "front seven" figure could be more relevant in some cases.
One observation per team:
- Arizona Cardinals: Injury concerns have led the Cardinals to carry additional players at tight end. Starter Rob Housler suffered a high-ankle sprain and might not be ready for the opener. Veteran Jeff King has not yet played during preseason. The team added Richard Quinn as short-term insurance. Housler and King both passed physicals and have practiced during camp, making them ineligible for the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Both are expected back sooner than PUP rules would allow, anyway. For now, though, their injuries are creating roster challenges. Guard Jonathan Cooper is also ineligible for PUP. He could go on the injured reserve list with a designation for return later in the season.
- San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers have 10 wide receivers on their 75-man roster, tied for most in the NFL even after placing Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham on the PUP list. Four or five of their remaining cuts figure to come at that position. The 49ers' wide receivers are the oldest in the NFL by average age thanks to Anquan Boldin (32) and Kassim Osgood (33). If Osgood sticks on the 53-man roster, special-teams contributions will explain why. Boldin, Jon Baldwin, Kyle Williams, Quinton Patton and Marlon Moore would be by picks if the team kept five.
- Seattle Seahawks: Defensive end Chris Clemons remained on the roster instead of shifting to the reserve/PUP list, another indication the team thinks he could return from knee surgery sooner rather than later. The PUP designation would allow Clemons to resume practicing between Oct. 15 and Nov. 19, but all signs point to Clemons being ready before that. Seattle needs him, too. Bruce Irvin faces a four-game suspension. Cliff Avril has a hamstring injury that could affect his availability for the opener. Keeping Clemons in play for Week 1 makes sense as long as there's a chance he could be ready by then.
- St. Louis Rams: The Rams are a little heavy at tight end while Cory Harkey recovers from injury and Lance Kendricks gets back to full speed following knee surgery. The Rams' roster appears pretty normal overall. The decisions looming appear straightforward. That could change as the team continues to build its depth.
They placed Butler on the physically unable to perform list. That means Butler, who tore his ACL in the offseason program, could be eligible to return after Week 6. That still seems like a long shot, but the Saints know Butler’s medical situation better than we do.
In addition to placing Butler on PUP, the Saints placed linebacker Will Smith, receiver Joe Morgan and linebacker Chris Chamberlain on injured reserve. The Saints also waived linebacker Eric Martin, safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and receiver Tim Toone.
The Saints also claimed cornerback Jumal Rolle off waivers from Buffalo. That leaves the roster at 75. Teams have to get down to 53 players by Saturday evening.
The three other players released Tuesday were: receiver Terrence Austin, cornerback DeQuan Menzie, tight end Cameron Morrah and tight end Matt Veldman.
Each NFL team must reduce its roster to 53 players by Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. Here is a numerical look at the Lions' roster by position, based on how they are listed on the team's web site:
- Centers: 2
- Cornerbacks: 7
- Defensive ends: 5
- Defensive tackles: 8
- Fullbacks: 1
- Guards: 6
- Place-kicker: 1
- Linebackers: 9
- Long-snapper: 1
- Punters: 2
- Quarterbacks: 3
- Running backs: 6
- Safeties: 7
- Tackles: 5
- Tight ends: 4
- Wide receivers: 8
The Cleveland Browns placed Hardesty on injured reserve, ending his season. With Dion Lewis going on IR on Monday, the top two backups to Trent Richardson are done for the season. Brandon Jackson and Miguel Maysonet are now listed as the reserve running backs on the team's depth chart.
Injuries have derailed Hardesty's career. He has injured the ACL in both of his knees, torn a calf muscle and dealt with a pulled hamstring. In 2010, the Browns traded two fifth-round picks to move up to select Hardesty in the second round.
To get down to the league limit of 75 players, the Browns waived seven players, including two recent draft picks: fullback Owen Marecic (2011 fourth-round) and offensive lineman Ryan Miller (2012 fifth round). Marecic had been replaced by Chris Ogbonnaya as the starting fullback.
Others waived were: linebacker Kendrick Adams, offensive lineman Dominic Alford, wide receiver Dominique Croom, defensive lineman Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and tight end Travis Tannahill. The Browns also placed offensive lineman Chris Faulk on the reserve-Non-Football Injury list.
Cleveland was awarded two players on waivers: outside linebacker Paul Hazel (Jacksonville) and punter Colton Schmidt (San Francisco).
They were preparing or that.
But they didn't plan to lose for the year fourth-round pick Edmund Kugbila, expected to at the very least provide much-needed depth on the offensive line.
Kugbila was placed on injured reserve after hamstring and knee issues forced Carolina's hand. Until then, as coach Ron Rivera said, he had shown flashes that had the team optimistic he would contribute either as a starter or backup at guard.
"Disappointed,'' Rivera said. "We're going to miss a good young football player who could help us like the other four guys are getting ready to help us."
The loss of Kugbila made the signing of free-agent guard Travelle Wharton on Sunday even bigger. What hasn't been replaced is the depth Kugbila would have provided.
Meanwhile, Carolina waived injured defensive tackle Frank Kearse and wide receiver Joe Adams. Along with placing Stewart on the physically unable to perform list, that got the roster to 75-player limit.
Shanahan was one of a handful of cuts the Bucs announced Tuesday afternoon as they got their roster down to the required 75 players. They also waived receiver Terriun Crump, wide receiver Chris Denton, guard Adam Smith and defensive back Branden Smith and released tight end Zach Miller.
The team also released linebacker Jacob Cutrera with an injured designation. If Cutrera clears waivers, he’ll revert back to Tampa Bay’s injured reserve list.
Teams must have their rosters down to 53 by Saturday afternoon.
Offensive lineman Ryan Lee and linebacker Jabara Williams were the final two cuts to reduce the roster from 77 players to 75. Lee was let go with the designation of waived/injured after he suffered an undisclosed injury late in last week's game against Denver.
Neither move comes as a surprise, but Williams' release is indicative of the progress made by a trio of undrafted rookie linebackers in camp. Williams was a former seventh-round pick of the Rams in 2011 and showed enough promise in that preseason that a segment of fans were outraged when he was released after two regular-season games to make room for offensive lineman Mark LeVoir.
Chicago claimed Williams and he appeared in five more games before returning to the Rams' practice squad on Nov. 21 of last year.
Williams battled some injuries during this camp but he'd been surpassed by the intriguing trio of Ray Ray Armstrong, Daren Bates and Jonathan Stewart around the same time of his injury.
As it stands, the Rams have eight linebackers on the roster, including Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who will not play in the first four games because of a violation of the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Given the exemption the Rams have for Dunbar in the first four weeks, they could theoretically carry all eight of the remaining linebackers, but it seems more likely that they'll opt to trim at least one more in the final round of cuts.
Armstrong has been one of the team's most pleasant surprises and is a near lock to make the roster at this point. Bates would seem to have the inside track on the final linebacker job because of his special-teams ability.
The final round of cuts is scheduled for Saturday when every team must trim to 53 players by 6 p.m. ET.
Players on the reserve PUP list can return to the active roster in Week 6 of the regular season, however, this doesn't mean the Seahawks expect Harvin back sooner than late November from his hip surgery. This simply is the move at the moment to get to 75.
Starting defensive end Chris Clemons remains on the active PUP list, which gives the Seahawks the option of placing him on the active roster at any time. Clemons is recovering from offseason ACL surgery.
Starting defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who suffered a groin injury in Monday’s practice, did not work out with the team Tuesday. There was no announcement on his condition.
A second-year veteran, Blanchard fractured a knuckle on his left hand during the team’s win over the San Diego Chargers. Prior to the injury, it appeared likely the Bears would try to keep Blanchard on the 53-man roster or waive him in final cuts with the expectation of adding him to the practice squad.
The problem is there’s no way a team can release an injured player without reaching a settlement.
“I’m just disappointed he was injured. I really liked his progress. I think we resonated that through the times we’ve talked here,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “I think everybody has an idea how we felt about Matt while he was here.”
Blanchard’s settlement makes him ineligible to return to the Bears until after Week 10. After the timeframe for the settlement expires, Blanchard can sign with another team. So it’s likely the quarterback would sign with another club after the length of the settlement -- which is commensurate with the time a player is expected to be out due to the injury -- has expired because he can’t rejoin the Bears until 2 1/2 months into the season.
In making the decision, Trestman said he hasn’t “even thought about” the timeframe for Blanchard’s recovery, adding that “we’ll just see how it goes as we move forward.”
When the team hit the practice field for the portion of Monday’s workout that the media is allowed to view, Blanchard wasn’t out on the field with the rest of his teammates. With the team going into the final exhibition game Thursday not expecting to play any of its starters, it’s likely the team would have played Blanchard for a significant amount of repetitions.
Instead, the Bears will divvy up the snaps to recently-signed quarterbacks Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards, with the former set to start.
“They’re both really smart guys and knowledgeable. They’ve practiced well,” Trestman said. “I expect that they’re gonna do well.”
Blanchard spent the majority of the 2012 season on the practice squad.
The two biggest names were fullback Jorvorskie Lane and guard Lance Louis, whose contract was terminated. Lane was last year's starter but fell behind this year, as Miami went in the direction of having more athletic and versatile players at fullback. He was being outplayed by new fullback Evan Rodriguez, who catches the ball well and brings more value on special teams. Louis had starting experience but didn’t look all the way back from ACL surgery.
Here is the full list of players Miami released on Tuesday:
- LB Michael Clay
- WR Jeff Fuller
- DE Emeka Onyenekwu
- WR Julius Pruitt
- WR Andrell Smith
- LB Nathan Williams
- LB David Hinds
- FB Jorvorskie Lane
- OL Lance Louis
The Dolphins will play their fifth and final preseason game Thursday against the New Orleans Saints. Miami has to cut its roster down to 53 players on Saturday.
Quarterback Nick Stephens, wide receivers Anthony Amos, Eric Rogers and Jared Green, guard Dennis Godfrey, tight end Colin Cochart, linebacker Deon Lacey, kicker Brett Maher and cornerback Brandon Underwood were cut.
Releasing three wide receivers and Stephens were the biggest surprises prior to the final preseason game on Thursday against the Houston Texans. The Cowboys will go into Thursday's preseason finale with Alex Tanney as the only quarterback who will play against the Texans.
Traditionally, the starters don't play in the final preseason game, but with three quarterbacks on the roster, expect backup Kyle Orton to be available to play in case Tanney gets hurt during the game.
At the start of training camp, the Cowboys had 11 receivers on the roster. With the expectations that starters Miles Austin and Dez Bryant won't play on Thursday, the Cowboys will have at least six receivers active for the game and it's undetermined how much Cole Beasley will play. He just returned to the practice field this week after missing last week with a sore knee.
The next cut-down date for the Cowboys is Saturday where they have to trim the roster to 53.