Deadline? NFL Moves Continue After Cutdown to 53
And the beat goes on...
Even after all the frantic action ahead of Tuesday's so-called final cutdown to 53 players per team in the NFL, it isn’t over.
Stay tuned, that was really only the semifinals.
Still the flurry of activity just before the deadline was at once complex and confusing.
Let us count the ways:
1. Colts RB Jonathan Taylor was placed on the physically unable to perform list with an ankle injury. He will miss the first four games of the season, at a minimum.
2. The Patriots waived presumptive backup quarterback Bailey Zappe. The 2022 fourth-rounder played well enough as a rookie to engender support over Mac Jones from the most basic of Patriots fans. Though Zappe looked lost in Bill O'Brien's offense this preseason, he is a strong candidate to be claimed off waivers. New England also cut receiver/quarterback Malik Cunningham, who had a few fun moments in the preseason opener.
3. The Cardinals started their cuts early by letting quarterback Colt McCoy know on Monday he won't make the team, despite having over $2 million guaranteed due him this season. That leaves fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune or veteran Josh Dobbs — acquired from Cleveland over the weekend for a late-round pick swap — to start the opener. I wrote before the preseason started that Tune had a chance to be the Week 1 starter, and that's my guess now. Kyler Murray is out for at least the first four weeks of the season as he continues to make his way back from the PUP list after from last December's ACL tear. It wouldn't surprise me if Murray misses the whole season, should the Cardinals fall quickly out of the playoff race.
5. Lost in the shuffle of the Dobbs trade: Browns fifth-round pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson won the team's backup quarterback job after an impressive preseason. The Browns have only two quarterbacks as of now, though head coach Kevin Stefanski did say Cleveland is planning to add a third.
5. Jake Browning claimed the Bengals backup quarterback job over Trevor Siemian. The Bengals should want to do better at the QB position when the rest of the roster is this solid, but on Tuesday, coach Zac Taylor said he feels good about Browning. Joe Burrow is expected to be ready for Week 1, barring any setbacks with his calf injury.
6. Speaking of backup-quarterback depth charts for Super Bowl contenders, the Bills placed Matt Barkley on injured reserve. That makes Kyle Allen the backup to Josh Allen.
7. Blaine Gabbert won the Chiefs' backup quarterback job over Shane Buechele. Hopefully, that's the last we hear about non-Patrick Mahomes Chiefs quarterbacks for the rest of the season.
8. The Bears cut Nathan Peterman just a few days after cutting veteran P.J. Walker. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Bears seek out another veteran quarterback, because undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent is currently the backup behind Justin Fields.
9. Most teams seemingly decided to keep two quarterbacks for now, despite the new NFL rule that a third quarterback who does not count against the active gameday roster can be used if necessary.
10. The Saints let go of veteran cornerback Bradley Roby in a surprise move. New Orleans has experimented with trying second-year pro Alontae Taylor in the slot, with Marshon Lattimore and Paulson Adebo starting on the outside.
11. Bills pass rusher Von Miller is out at least the first four games of the season after being placed on the PUP list. With the 34-year-old Miller coming off a torn ACL, it was always a long shot for him to be ready for the start of the season.
12. While not a surprise, it's still amazing to see Damar Hamlin on the Bills' initial 53-man roster. Hamlin is probably fourth on the Bills' safety depth chart, possibly the best safety group in the entire NFL.
13. The wheel of kickers is spinning wildly. Broncos coach Sean Payton traded for old friend Wil Lutz from the Saints, opening up the gig for Blake Grupe in New Orleans. That leaves former Cowboys kicker Brett Maher, who was with the Broncos, without a job. The Patriots sent old standby Nick Folk to the Titans for a 2025 seventh-round pick. Rookie fourth-rounder Chad Ryland will be New England's kicker.
14. The Browns gave kicker Cade York, a highly touted fourth-round pick in 2022, the boot after a rough preseason. They traded for the Chargers' Dustin Hopkins to take his place. Los Angeles will roll with Cameron Dicker once again.
15. The Broncos traded tight end Albert Okwuegbunam to the Eagles for a late-round pick swap in 2025. An annual fantasy-hype candidate during previous Broncos regimes, Albert O. believers get a second life in Philly!
16. Player-for-player trades are fun to track. The Dolphins sent cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, a former first-rounder, to the Cowboys for cornerback Kelvin Joseph, a former second-rounder.The team that gets better production from the trade is just better at coaching cornerbacks.
17. The Bengals put tackle La'el Collins on the PUP list to start the season. I view this as a positive, because cutting Collins was another option. Consider Collins insurance against the calamities that have befallen the Bengals' offensive line the last two seasons.
18. The Giants cut veteran slot receivers Jamison Crowder and Cole Beasley. That's a sign that New York's receiver group stayed mostly healthy in camp, and the team didn't need its backup plan.
19. The Texans acquired guard Kendrick Green from the Steelers, a clear indication that this preseason hasn't gone as planned up front for a banged-up Texans offensive line.
20. Running back Malik Davis didn't make the initial Cowboys roster. Rookie Deuce Vaughn and Rico Dowdle are the backups to Tony Pollard.
21. Jimmy Graham made the Saints' roster! The third preseason game is usually for undrafted rookies, but Graham's effort on Sunday night against the Texans likely clinched the 36-year-old's spot. Graham and Michael Thomas are really about to be catching passes for a Saints team not coached by Sean Payton in the year 2023.
22. We are less than 10 days to the Kickoff Game, and Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones' holdout continues. Kansas City placed Jones on the reserve/did not report list. Nick Bosa is on the same list with the 49ers. Most people seem to believe that Bosa will be signed before Week 1.