NFL 53-Man Roster Cuts: Most Surprising QB Releases After Preseason

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 09:   Mike Kafka #3 of the Philadelphia Eagles passes during a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field on August 9, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

One position that always features a lot of movement on NFL roster cut-down day is quarterback. Since most teams carry three or four throughout training camp and the preseason, it comes down to a numbers game that many QBs end up losing.

Let's take a look at three quarterbacks who ended up getting cut even though they looked like a solid bet to make the roster at the beginning of last month. It shows exhibition games do hold a lot of importance for players trying to win jobs.


Brian Hoyer

Being the backup to Tom Brady is normally one of the easiest jobs in sports. The New England Patriots have a good track record of developing quarterbacks and Hoyer was seemingly in line to become the next success story on the list.

Instead, the Patriots decided to let him go and allow Ryan Mallett to assume the second spot. Hoyer has attempted less than 50 passes during his career, so it's tough to gauge how he would perform in an extended role, but he's always been praised.

Just the fact he spent so much time with the Patriots will ensure other teams give him a look in a backup role. He's likely learned a lot from Brady during his years in New England, and that's a valuable resource.


Josh Johnson

Johnson has showcased a lot of potential and certainly has the athletic ability to succeed in the NFL. Yet, he hasn't been able to lock down a job after being released by the San Francisco 49ers, which will raise eyebrows around the league.

Quarterback is one of San Francisco's weakest positions. Alex Smith is coming off the first good season of his career, Colin Kaepernick is still in the transition phase and Scott Tolzien was a waiver pickup early last season.

The fact Johnson wasn't even able to beat out Tolzien to secure the third spot doesn't bode well. A team may feel compelled to give him a chance because of the upside, but it's starting to look like he may never reach that potential.


Mike Kafka

Having a reliable backup is more important for the Philadelphia Eagles than just about any other team given Michael Vick's injury history. Kafka seemed likely to battle for that position, but an injury derailed his preseason.

And while he sat on the sidelines, the other quarterbacks shined. Rookie Nick Foles looked more prepared than a vast majority of first-year QBs and former Buffalo Bills starter Trent Edwards impressed throughout the preseason as well.

That left Kafka as the odd man out. The Eagles took him in the fourth round two years ago, so he'll likely land on his feet somewhere, but it's disappointing to go from backup to cut in a couple weeks. That's life in the NFL.