NFL 53-Man Roster Cuts: Household Names That Won't Find New Homes

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerContributor IIISeptember 1, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 24:  Terrell Owens #10 of the Seattle Seahawks in action during the NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on August 24, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The deadline has passed for NFL teams to mold their rosters down to the final 53 players, which obviously means there has been a significant number of cuts throughout the league. 

The solid majority of those cuts are low-end players who never had a decent shot at making a roster to begin with, but just like every year, there has been a number of headline-worthy veteran departures as well. 

Some of the veteran cuts weren't overly surprising, while some cuts caught a few people off guard. 

If the veterans still have something positive to offer on the field and were merely a victim of the number game, they'll likely find a new home. But a few recognizable players have hit the end of the road. 

Out of the more well-known players who were recently cut, which ones will struggle to find a new home in the NFL? 


WR Terrell Owens

First of all, it's important that we never say never. 

Diva wide receiver Terrell Owens was a victim during the Seattle Seahawks' first round of cuts, but according to, head coach Pete Carroll felt that Owens was "terrific" during his time in Seattle and is open to bringing him back if an injury occurs at the position.

So there's still a chance that Owens will return in 2012, but it likely won't be for any team other than the Seahawks.

First of all, the fact that Owens was initially cut tells the other teams that he has lost something since 2010. That fact alone assures most general managers that Owens is not worth the distraction from the inevitable media circus. 

If a receiver goes down in Seattle, don't be surprised if the team's first phone call is to Owens. 

If not, then back-to-back seasons away from the NFL will mark the official end of Owens' impressive NFL career. 


DE Vernon Gholston 

The St. Louis Rams gave former No. 6 overall draft pick Vernon Gholston a very brief opportunity for a tryout, but Gholston didn't make the cut. 

The Rams signed Gholston on August 22 according to NBC Sports, but they decided to let him walk as the deadline arrived nine days later (according the CBS Sports). 

Gholston wasn't signed by St. Louis until nearly the end of training camp, so he never really had a fair shot at earning a roster spot. 

Regardless, his incredibly inept run with the New York Jets, combined with his invisible stint with the Chicago Bears last year, ensures that Gholston is done with football. 

Gholston has recorded zero sacks and only 18 tackles since rookie year in 2008, which is an incredibly unproductive career for someone who is so athletically gifted. 

But as the old saying goes—looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane. 


WR Deion Branch

After three very mediocre seasons in Seattle from 2008 to 2010, Deion Branch returned to his original home with the New England Patriots and became productive once again. 

In 2010, Branch had 706 yards and five touchdowns in just nine starts. And last season, he put up 702 yards and again had five scores. 

But unfortunately for Branch, he was among the final cuts in New England (according to ESPN). 

It's very reasonable to expect some interest in Branch around the league. It wouldn't be the least bit shocking if he eventually found a new team in 2012. 

Although, the Patriots have more respect for Branch than any other organization, and they were willing to let him walk. Sure, they're loaded with talent, but his departure from the organization raises some red flags. 

The 33-year-old Branch was only mildly productive in New England, so it's reasonable to assume that he only offers marginal production for a typical organization. 

As a result, there's at least a chance that his career is over. An injury in New England could change that, but for now he'll struggle to find a new home. 


QB Kellen Clemens 

After spending five season with the New York Jets under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Kellen Clemens relocated to St. Louis and started three games during the 2011 season. 

Coincidentally, Schottenheimer ended up in St. Louis months later. 

Clemens' familiarity with Schottenheimer's offense all but guaranteed that he'd land the backup quarterback job behind Sam Bradford, but undrafted rookie Austin Davis caught him off guard. 

While Clemens was shaky and inaccurate throughout the preseason, Davis was very impressive and played with a lot of swagger. 

Surprisingly, Davis won the backup job and Clemens is now unemployed. 

Such a disastrous choke job in securing his position will send a message to other teams, telling them that there are better options out there for a backup quarterback. 

Clemens will have to wait quite some time before he gets a call from an NFL team. In fact, the former second-round pick could be done for good. 


CB Alphonso Smith

The Detroit Lions are desperate for help in the secondary, so the fact they cut former second-round pick Alphonso Smith is not exactly a rave review for the young corner. 

As a rookie with the Denver Broncos, Smith was traded to Detroit after just one season in exchange for tight end Dan Gronkowski, who was only a seventh-round pick in the same draft class as Smith. 

In two seasons with Detroit, Smith has only started 11 games. While he has recorded eight interceptions over the last two seasons, his coverage skills leave something to be desired. 

It won't be shocking if Smith gets a few tryouts with other NFL teams, but it will be an uphill battle for him to make another NFL roster, unless a team is bombarded with injuries in the secondary. 


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