Linebackers Evan Weaver and Jordan Kunaszyk were among the several former Cal players who were cut on Saturday as NFL teams got down to the 53-man regular-season roster limit.
Weaver, the 2019 Pac-12 defensive player of the year and a first-team all-American, was a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. But Weaver was one of the 16 players the Cardinals released or waived on Saturday.
CBS Sports had this analysis of the move involving Weaver:
Weaver's collegiate production was impressive, but a bevy of offseason moves designed to improve the Cardinals' porous linebacking corps made the likelihood of the rookie sixth-round pick making the roster rather remote. Expect Weaver to transition to the team's practice squad should he pass through waivers.
In early August, Weaver had signed his rookie deal of $3.462 million over four years with a $167,232 signing bonus.
The Cardinals kept five linebackers: Jordan Hicks, De'Vondre Campbell, Isaiah Simmons, Tanner Vallejo and Ezekiel Turner.
Kunaszyk, who latched onto the Carolina Panthers' regular-season roster as a an undrafted free agent in 2019, did not make the team in his second season. He was waived by the Panthers on Saturday.
The Panthers kept six linebackers: Tahir Whitehead, Shaq Thompson, Adarius Taylor, Julian Stanford, Jermaine Carter an Sam Franklin.
Kunaszyk and Weaver were Cal's starting inside linebackers in 2018.
The deadline for NFL teams to get down to the 53-player, regular-season limit was Saturday 1 p.m. Pacific time.
Tight end Richard Rodgers, quarterback Davis Webb and wide receiver Chad Hansen were the other casualties among ex-Cal players. Rodgers was released by the Washington Football Team, Webb was cut by the Buffalo Bills, and Hansen was waived by the Houston Texans.
All the players cut will try to sign with another team or perhaps join a practice squad.
Former Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen made news on another front as he signed a four-year, $80 million extension with the Los Angeles Chargers, according to multiple reports.
But the cutdown to the regular-season rosters dominated the NFL news.
The other two Cal players taken in the 2020 NFL draft made their 53-man rosters. New York Jets safety Ashtyn Davis (third-round pick) and Atlanta Falcons safety Jaylinn Hawkins (fourth-round pick) are on the regular-season rosters of the teams that drafted them, and Davis is expected to get significant playing time.
Former Cal running back Patrick Laird also made the 53-man roster of the Miami Dolphins after some anxious moments. He made the Dolphins' roster as an undrafted free agent last year, but he was sidelined by an injury on August 25, putting his job in jeopardy. But he was listed on the Dolphins' regular-season roster Saturday.
Other signficiant transactions involving former Cal players:
Running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive lineman Brandon Mebane are free agents who apparently have retired after long NFL careers. They could sign with NFL teams during the season, however.
Running back Shane Vereen was released by the New Orleans Saints with an injury settlement several weeks go.
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks received medical clearance in July after suffering a torn ACL in December, but he remains a free agent, and teams may be reluctant to sign him because of pending legal issues.
Wide receiver Jordan Veasy was placed on injured reserve by the Washington Football Team.
Running back Khalfani Muhammad was waived by the Denver Broncos on July 28.
Tight end James Looney (Packers), wide receiver Trevor Davis (Dolphins) and tight end Ian Bunting (Colts) had been released earlier in the summer.
Here are the former Golden Bears players who are now on 53-man rosters.
Running back Patrick Laird -- Miami Dolphins
Safety Ashtyn Davis -- New York Jets
Safety Jaylinn Hawkins -- Atlanta Falcons
Tackle Patrick Mekari -- Baltimore Ravens
Defensive lineman Tyson Alualu -- Pittsburgh Steelers
Tight end Stephen Anderson -- Los Angeles Chargers
Wide receiver Keenan Allen -- Los Angeles Chargers
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson -- Philadelphia Eagles
Long snapper L.P. Ladouceur -- Dallas Cowboys
Long snapper Nick Sundberg -- Washington
Quarterback Jared Goff -- Los Angeles Rams
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers -- Green Bay Packers
Linebacker Devante Downs -- New York Giants
Linebacker Hardy Nickerson Jr. -- Minnesota Vikings (Nickerson played his senior college season at Illinois)
Center Alex Mack -- Atlanta Falcons
Tackle Mitchell Schwartz -- Kansas City Chiefs
Punter Bryan Anger -- Houston Texans
Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. -- Detroit Lions
Defensive end Cameron Jordan -- New Orleans Saints
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