• By 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, every NFL team trimmed its roster from 90 players to 53, putting lots of players on the job market. Follow along to keep up with every team's biggest moves.
By Chris Burke
September 01, 2017

Saturday, 4 p.m. ET: The cuts have been made, but team rosters are far from set

Just a reminder that with a number of players now available on waivers, teams can still add tomorrow. 

2:55 p.m. ET: 49ers cut Jeremy Kerley

Jeremy Kerley was the leading receiver, almost by default, on an awful 49ers’ offense last season—he caught 64 passes (on 115 targets!) for 667 yards; no other player on the team made it to 500 yards. He’s always been better than given credit for, even as he bounced around rosters last off-season.

Now, he’s on the move again. The 49ers cut him as part of their roster overhaul, with newcomers like Marquise Goodwin and rookie Trent Taylor ready to fill Kerley’s role.

1:55 p.m. ET: Lions cut Brad Kaaya

A year after being considered a contender for the 2017 draft’s top overall spot, QB Brad Kaaya may be headed to the Lions’ practice squad after being released Saturday. The Lions really had no reason to carry a third quarterback, given their comfort level with backup Jake Rudock. Kaaya slipped all the way to Round 6 in the draft following a rough ’16 season; he completed 24 of 40 attempts during the preseason. He never did anything to make Rudock nervous in the race to Detroit’s No. 2 gig.

1:45 p.m. ET: Panthers, Titans reach the finish line

Teams still have a couple hours to trim their rosters down to 53 for the regular season, but Carolina and Tennessee wrapped up their work early. Those are the first two teams to complete the mandatory cuts.

The biggest names on the Panthers’ list: punter Andy Lee and QB/WR/little bit of everything Joe Webb. Lee is a three-time All-Pro (2007, ’09 and ’11), and the Panthers traded for him last year, sending Kasey Redfern and a 2018 fourth-rounder to the Browns—Cleveland still owns that pick. Webb hasn’t thrown a regular-season pass since 2011 and he had a combined two yards rushing/receiving the past two seasons, but his versatility—and special-teams presence made him valuable. He’s still just 30, so someone will find a spot for him on their final 53.

Meanwhile, the Titans traded for DL David King, then released nose tackle Antwaun Woods and 2015 fourth-round pick Angelo Blackson as part of their roster trim. Also on the cut list: WR Tre McBride, WR/KR Eric Weems and CB D’Joun Sims.

In an uncommon intra-division trade, Browns add Coates to their receiving corps, adding another target for starting QB DeShone Kizer. Cleveland sent a 2018 sixth-round pick to the Steelers as well—the pick they received in the trade with Pittsburgh for CB Justin Gilbert.

11:50 a.m. ET: Broncos cut T.J. Ward

The Broncos reportedly tried to trade safety T.J. Ward all preseason. When they could not find a partner, a release of Ward became all but inevitable. That moment came Saturday. Denver will save $4.5 off its cap by cutting Ward, and it will hand its starting safety job over full-time to Justin Simmons. Ward, 30, has been a stalwart for the Broncos for three years (and four with Cleveland prior to that). If a nagging hamstring issue is in the past, he should be among the most coveted available players.

Speaking of trading up for a kicker …The Bears took a shot on Aguayo after Tampa Bay released him earlier this preseason, but the embattled kicker never found his footing with Chicago either. He missed his only field-goal attempt, in Week 2 of the preseason, and never even threatened Connor Barth’s job. It may be until next year’s mini-camps open before Aguayo lands another gig.

Roberto Aguayo, a Second-Round Kicker Who Couldn’t Cut It

11:15 a.m. ET: Bucs cut RB Jeremy McNichols

It’s not quite trading-up-for-a-kicker bad, but the Bucs probably would like their 2017 fifth-round choice of RB Jeremy McNichols. They cut the rookie Saturday, following a rough preseason. McNichols rushed for just 79 yards on 24 attempts (a meager 3.3 average), and he had one carry for minus-1 yard during the all-important third week of preseason. Tampa Bay’s backfield shapes up like a strength, especially once Doug Martin’s suspension wraps. McNichols needed a big camp to carve out a role, and he didn’t get it.

Hard Knocks, Episode 4: The Cuts Are Looming For Fringe Players

Friday, 5:20 p.m. ET: Bears cut WR Victor Cruz

Even with Cameron Meredith being lost for the year to a knee injury, Victor Cruz faced an uphill battle for a roster spot in Chicago. He his 39 receptions for 586 yards last season made for a nice farewell to the Giants, but he hasn’t produced consistent numbers since 2013 (73 receptions, 998 yards). More to the point, fellow free-agent addition Kendall Wright had him blocked from the starting slot gig—Wright might be Chicago’s leading receiver in a Meredith-less season. No point for a rebuilding team like the Bears to hang onto a 30-year-old Cruz as its No. 4 or 5 receiver when a younger guy could fill the job.

Cleveland cut QB Brock Osweiler on Friday, which as one might recall is sort of how this whole thing was supposed to go down back in March, when the Browns traded for him in the first place. When the team announced that trade with Houston, it made sure to highlight the 2018 second-round pick it had acquired. And then, “Cleveland will also acquire Houston’s 2017 sixth-round pick (188th overall) and QB Brock Osweiler for the Browns’ 2017 fourth-round compensatory pick (142nd overall).”

Osweiler, though, impressed the coaching staff—or at least, the front office on the hook for his $18 million salary—enough to sneak into the starting spot come the preseason. But he flopped in two outings, tossing the door wide open for rookie DeShone Kizer to take over. Osweiler probably will land somewhere else. Who knows where, or how long it will take.

The Browns also released guard John Greco and DT Xavier Cooper. The former should draw ample attention on the open market. He started 12 games last year (and has 66 career starts), and he’s healthy again following December Lisfranc surgery.

3:00 p.m. ET: Jets trade Sheldon Richardson to Seahawks for Jermaine Kearse and a second- and seventh-round draft pick

Seattle bolsters their already-tough front seven by adding Sheldon Richardson, and the Jets boost their WR corps, which was depleted after Quincy Enunwa’s season-ending injury.

The Biggest Winner in the Jets-Seahawks Trade? Sheldon Richardson

2:50 p.m. ET: 49ers cut QB Matt Barkley

The 49ers signed Brian Hoyer to be their starter, then made it no secret how excited they were to land Iowa’s C.J. Beathard in the draft. In other words, Matt Barkley’s fate was more or less sealed before Friday, when San Francisco released him. Barkley, who turns 27 next week, could latch on somewhere else as a No. 3 quarterback but the greater likelihood is that he sits until a team suffers an injury and needs depth. Beathard will be the 49ers’ backup, behind Hoyer, after a solid preseason

2:45 p.m. ET: Cardinals release RB Chris Johnson

Has Chris Johnson’s career hit the wall? Perhaps. A long way removed from his 2,000-yard campaign of ‘09, Johnson lost out on the Cardinals’ depth chart this summer to Kerwynn Williams, with David Johnson locked in as the starter. CJ2K rushed for just 95 yards on 25 carries last year.

2:35 p.m. ET: Ravens release RB Lorenzo Taliaferro

Walking proof of the whole “a running back’s shelf life is short” argument, Lorenzo Taliaferro got the axe from Baltimore on Friday. He rushed for four TDs and averaged 14.3 yards per catch as a rookie, but injuries limited him to 14 combined carries in 2015-16. The Ravens entered preseason with a bevy of backfield options. Taliaferro and Rainey felt the squeez​e.

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I want to take this time to thank the Baltimore Ravens organization for drafting me in 2014 and giving me 3 long years to represent this first class organization I have nothing but great thing to say about my 3 years here and I wouldn't trade it for nothing Baltimore cares all across the board from the front office to training staff to the fans and coaches unfortunately getting cut is the part of the business I can't control but what I can control is bouncing back and making the most out of my next opportunity and to the other 31 teams I can promise you that whoever it is that will pick me up you are getting a hard worker that's hungry and will not settle. Also want to thank the ravens nation fans for supporting me and my family and friends as well I ask y'all to do one thing and that's not holding your head down or giving a lot of sympathy because this isn't the end I have plenty years ahead and I will be great I've seen this happen to many greats like my mentor @jforsett he was a journeyman in the NFL for like 7 years finally got his chance to shine in year 7 in Baltimore and he seized his moment balled out and I've seen undrafted guys take many years to get a chance and then balled when they did and now are hall of famers so trust me The Bot is just getting started one chapter done the next one is starting to be written so don't be disappointed by the first chapter keep reading because it's only going to get better. #TheBestHasYetToCome #Zobot #StayTuned #MyGodAnswers #Believe #oneMansTrashIsAnotherMansTreasure

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1:45 p.m. ET: Broncos release RB Stevan Ridley

Stevan Ridley rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown in Denver’s 30–2 (real score) win over Arizona on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to secure the veteran RB a job, though. He was one of the early running back cuts, along with Detroit’s Matt Asiata, Baltimore’s Bobby Rainey and Dallas’s Ronnie Hillman. It’ll be interesting to see how all these dominoes fall. Teams are pretty well-stocked in the backfield by this point, but a few of these names could change a depth chart or two

1:25 p.m. ET: Browns announce 18 transactions, reduce roster to 65 players

Browns DL Karter Schult had a handful of strong preseason games, but the team has plenty of depth at defensive line, especially with sixth-round draft pick Caleb Brantley.

12:40 p.m. ET: Broncos trade OT Ty Sambrailo to Atlanta for a 2018 fifth-round pick

Another of those mid-round picks is on the move, as the Broncos reportedly have sent OT Ty Sambrailo to Atlanta for 2018 fifth-rounder. Not much return on Sambrailo, a ‘15 Round 2 pick, but in line with those aforementioned Tomlinson and Erving moves.

Sambrailo was expected to compete for a starting gig in Denver, both on the left and right sides. He never materialized as hoped, so Atlanta will try to revitalize him as a depth option.

11:45 a.m. ET: Eagles cut WR Paul Turner

For a brief moment last year, WR Paul Turner looked like he might emerge as a young star for the Eagles. He’ll have to continue that rise elsewhere. Turner went off for 80 yards on six catches in Week 13, but a fractured scapula this summer kept him from winning a job in Philadelphia. Still, he’s just 24, with some upside.

10:00 a.m. ET: Buccaneers cut DE George Johnson

And … we’re off! The first (reported) cut of what’s sure to be a frantic Friday comes out of Tampa Bay, where DE George Johnson will be released. He had a breakthrough 2014 for the Lions (6.0) sacks, which he parlayed into a three-year deal with the Bucs as a restricted free agent; Detroit dealt him for a fifth-rounder rather than match that deal.

That was the high point for Johnson. He had zero sacks in ‘15 and spent last year or I.R. with a hip issue. He’ll get some looks based on experience alone—the Lions actually could use some DE help—but it’s not a surprise to see Tampa Bay cut the cord.

8:00 a.m. ET: A wild two days await the NFL

This year, for the first time, teams were permitted to carry 90 players through the final preseason game, as opposed to splitting roster cut downs into two: from 90 to 75 prior to the last preseason date, then from 75 to 53 for the regular season. The reasoning behind the change was sound: It permitted teams to rest more of their impact players for a meaningless game, and it provided an additional game opportunity for those guys at the bottom of the roster.

The fallout comes now, as upwards of 1,100 players will hit the waiver wire or free agency between now and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, when teams must have a finalized 53-man roster.

Because front offices will have less of a window to pick through discarded talent, there’s already been a flurry of minor trades—Detroit dealt Laken Tomlinson to San Francisco for a draft pick on Thursday; Cleveland did the same with Cameron Erving on Wednesday, shipping him to Kansas City. More are sure to follow.

The real drama, though, likely will come when big names are handed their walking papers. (Again, the Browns got out in front of the process by releasing cornerback Joe Haden, who then inked a deal with Pittsburgh.) Among the most recognizable names who could be, at least briefly, looking for work are Jets RB Matt Forte and Bears WR Victor Cruz, but they’re hardly alone. Will the Browns hang onto high-priced QB Brock Osweiler, who’s now a backup at best behind DeShone Kizer? Is Denver safety T.J. Ward headed out the door, after trade rumors swirled around him all week?

Joe Haden's Days in Cleveland Were Numbered, So Browns Decided to Move On

There are certain to be some surprises, as GMs work their way through a challenging weekend.

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