Biggest Takeaways from Every NFL Team's Final Roster Cuts
The final stage of the NFL preseason has arrived. After a summer of training and a month of exhibition play, teams have determined which 53 players they're going to carry into the 2019 season.
At least, this is the first iteration of the rosters teams will take into the regular season. Changes will come as decision-makers work the waiver wire and the trading block—the Seattle Seahawks already made a big move by trading for pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney. On Saturday, though, teams had to cut down to 53 players.
This means roughly 40 percent of players who were on teams during the preseason are now unemployed. It also means those franchises have largely determined who they're going to be in 2019.
What have we learned about each team? Here's a look at the biggest takeaways from cutdown day.
The new-look Arizona Cardinals offense is beginning to take shape. Among cuts made ahead of the deadline were wide receivers Chad Williams and Pharoh Cooper, which leaves Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Michael Crabtree and rookies Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson as the Cardinals' top receivers. Fellow rookie receiver Hakeem Butler is out for the season with a broken hand.
Arizona also released backup tackle Rees Odhiambo and traded Korey Cunningham to the New England Patriots. That's an indication the Cardinals are happy with the offensive line depth that they have, which includes rookie seventh-round pick Josh Miles.
"I think Josh's development was a huge bonus for us," head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, per Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. "He's got better and better and we like where he's at."
Hopefully, this year's line will be better than last season's iteration, which allowed 52 sacks on the year.
The Atlanta Falcons are still trying to solidify their kicking game. Giorgio Tavecchio, who appeared in three games for the Falcons last season, was among the team's roster cuts. After releasing Tavecchio, the Falcons re-signed longtime kicker Matt Bryant after releasing him in February.
Bryant, who spent the past 10 seasons with Atlanta, was hampered by a hamstring injury last year.
Atlanta also seems to be settling on its offensive line rotation after releasing Chandler Miller, Sean Harlow, John Wetzel and Adam Gettis.
Revamping the offensive line has been an offseason priority for the Falcons. Quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked 42 times in 2018, the second-highest total of his career.
The Baltimore Ravens took a flier on 2015 first-round pick Shane Ray earlier this offseason, hoping he could be the eight-sack pass-rusher he was in 2016. However, Ray found himself among Baltimore's roster cuts.
That likely leaves Matt Judon, Pernell McPhee and rookie Jaylon Ferguson as Baltimore's primary pass-rushers for 2019 after losing Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith in free agency.
The Ravens also released undrafted rookie receiver Jaylen Smith. It initially seemed Smith, who played some of his college ball with quarterback Lamar Jackson, would have a decent shot at making the squad after impressing in training camp. However, he failed to stand out in the preseason, catching just one pass for nine yards.
Baltimore's revamped receiving corps will now feature Willie Snead, Seth Roberts and rookies Miles Boykin and Marquise Brown.
From a performance standpoint, this wasn't a shocker. The 31-year-old is a declining player who averaged a mere 3.2 yards per carry last season. From a financial standpoint, though, parting with McCoy now seems a bit odd.
By carrying him into the new league year, the Bills got stuck with $2.9 million in dead money. With McCoy out, Buffalo appears set to roll with Devin Singletary, Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon at running back.
McCoy quickly gained interest after hitting the open market. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles were all interested in the running back's services.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, McCoy signed a one-year, $4 million deal with Kansas City.
Rookie quarterback Tyree Jackson was also waived, which means Matt Barkley will back up Josh Allen this season.
Perhaps the most surprising of the Carolina Panthers' moves this week was the release of cornerback Corn Elder. Though Elder largely failed to get onto the playing field, he was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft and was seemingly a player with some upside.
Running back Cameron Artis-Payne and quarterback Taylor Heinicke were also released.
With Artis-Payne out, Reggie Bonnafon and Elijah Holyfield will provide the depth behind Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers will keep two quarterbacks—Kyle Allen and rookie third-round pick Will Grier—behind Cam Newton.
Though there weren't any real surprises among the Chicago Bears' roster cuts, two recent draft picks do stand out: 2018 sixth-round linebacker Kylie Fitts and 2016 third-round defensive end Jonathan Bullard.
The release of Bullard in particular is an indication of just how deep the Bears are on defense. Though he appeared in 46 games and amassed 62 tackles over the past three seasons, there simply wasn't a place for him behind defensive ends Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols and Roy Robertson-Harris. Fellow defensive end Jonathan Harris was also cut.
On the offensive side of the ball, running back Ryan Nall has been placed on waivers. That leaves Chicago with a promising trio of backs in Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery and Mike Davis.
The Cincinnati Bengals are ready to kick off their first season under new head coach Zac Taylor, but fourth-year receiver Cody Core won't be part of it. He was released as part of Cincinnati's Saturday cuts.
Though Core did flash some potential during his time with the Bengals, he never developed into a reliable starter. A.J. Green's recovery from ankle surgery gave Core a realistic shot at making the roster in 2019, but Cincinnati opted to make undrafted rookie Damion Willis a starter, which bumped Core off the depth chart.
In a more surprising move, the Bengals parted with 2018 third-round pick Malik Jefferson. The former Texas standout appeared in 12 games last season but finished with a mere 10 tackles. Linebacker was a bit of a question mark after the Bengals parted ways with Vontaze Burfict in the offseason, but Jefferson didn't show enough to make the squad.
The Cleveland Browns had two significant position battles in training camp and the preseason: at right guard and at kicker. They've managed to settle one of them.
Incumbent kicker Greg Joseph was released on Saturday, which means rookie fifth-round pick Austin Seibert will be Cleveland's kicker going into 2019. Undrafted punter Jamie Gillan also beat out veteran Britton Colquitt for the punting job.
The Browns also released wide receiver and returner Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, who was one of the feel-good stories of the preseason. Sheehy-Guiseppi essentially talked his way into a tryout with the Browns and even returned a punt for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins.
Fellow receivers Braxton Miller and Derrick Willies were also released.
The Dallas Cowboys apparently do not have room for developmental players. Rookie fifth-round cornerback Michael Jackson and rookie seventh-rounder Mike Weber were among the players released on Saturday.
Weber's release is a mild surprise since the Cowboys still don't have Ezekiel Elliott and are in need of running back depth. Presumably, 2019 fourth-rounder Tony Pollard will get the starting nod in Elliott's absence.
Dallas also parted with backup quarterback Mike White, which is unsurprising given his preseason struggles. White completed just 52.9 percent of his passes and turned the ball over three times in four appearances. Cooper Rush will likely back up Dak Prescott this season.
The Denver Broncos parted with quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Kevin Hogan on Saturday. This was a bit surprising, as it leaves only Joe Flacco and rookie Drew Lock on the active roster—and Lock has been placed on short-term injured reserve.
Denver will need an additional quarterback before its season opener against the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 9. The Broncos clearly felt they could find better options than Hogan and Rypien on the cut pile.
Another notable move was the release of linebacker Keishawn Bierria. A 2018 sixth-round pick, Bierria appeared in all 16 games for the Broncos last season.
The Detroit Lions didn't have any shockers among their roster cuts, though the release of special-team ace Charles Washington was a mild surprise. He was a consistent presence on Detroit's special teams unit and amassed 20 tackles over the past two seasons.
The Lions released a pair of 2019 draft picks: seventh-rounders PJ Johnson and Isaac Nauta.
2017 second-round pick Teez Tabor was also released this week, though that move was somewhat expected—despite Tabor's lofty draft status. The former Florida cornerback never managed to lock down a starting role in Detroit. He was often a liability in coverage due to subpar quickness—he ran a 4.62-second 40 at the combine—and became expendable after the offseason acquisition of Justin Coleman.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers pulled the plug on the DeShone Kizer experiment.
Originally a 2017 second-round pick by the Browns, Kizer was acquired last offseason in the trade that sent Damarious Randall to Cleveland. Unfortunately for him, Kizer couldn't develop into a reliable backup or a successor to Aaron Rodgers.
After Tim Boyle shined in the preseason—he passed for 356 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions—it didn't make sense to keep Kizer.
The Packers also parted with versatile offensive lineman Justin McCray, whom they dealt to the Browns.
Kicker Sam Ficken was among Green Bay's other cuts, which means Mason Crosby will return for his 13th Packers campaign.
The Houston Texans have found their punter. Youngster Trevor Daniel, 24, beat out seven-year veteran Bryan Anger, who was among the players released Saturday.
Also released were running backs Josh Ferguson and Damarea Crockett—somewhat surprising given the loss of Lamar Miller to a torn ACL. However, the Texans did address their backfield by trading for Carlos Hyde.
To acquire Hyde, Houston sent 2018 third-round pick Martinas Rankin to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Texans also parted with cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who had signed a one-year deal in free agency.
Fans who were hoping to see speedy rookie receiver Penny Hart catching passes for the Indianapolis Colts this season are out of luck. The undrafted Georgia State product generated a bit of a buzz at this year's Senior Bowl, but he dealt with a hamstring issue in camp and couldn't stick on the 53-man roster.
Indianapolis released quarterback Phillip Walker as well. With Chad Kelly set to serve a two-game suspension, this leaves the Colts looking for a backup for Jacoby Brissett ahead of Week 1.
The Colts also pulled the plug on cornerback and 2015 second-round pick Jalen Collins' time with the team.
Pryor had a 1,000-yard season as a receiver in 2016, but he hasn't replicated that success. He lasted one season with the Washington Redskins and spent time with the Bills and Jets last year. He's had just 36 receptions over the past two seasons after he caught 77 in 2016.
Jacksonville also moved on from defensive tackle Datone Jones, who entered the league as a first-round pick with the Packers in 2013. Quarterback Alex McGough was also released, which leaves Gardner Minshew as Nick Foles' backup.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs dealt Carlos Hyde to Houston, but the veteran running back likely would have been waived otherwise. Kansas City has plenty of backfield depth in Damien Williams, Darrel Williams, rookie Darwin Thompson and now, LeSean McCoy after signing the 31-year-old veteran to a one-year deal on Saturday.
2018 sixth-round pick Kahlil McKenzie and cornerback D'Montre Wade were also among the Chiefs' cuts. Wade spent the 2018 season on Kansas City's practice squad.
Undrafted receiver/tight end Jody Fortson was another significant release. He caught two passes for 38 yards and a touchdown in the preseason finale and looked like he could thrive in Kansas City's offense. Don't be shocked if he lands on the practice squad.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers may now be willing to trade running back Melvin Gordon III, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. However, they're not about to load up on wide receivers and field a one-dimensional offense. After Saturday's cuts, the Chargers kept five receivers on the 53-man roster.
The biggest surprise was the release of wideout Artavis Scott, who dominated during the preseason. He appeared in all four games and finished with 12 receptions, 188 yards receiving and a 15.7 yards-per-catch average.
Los Angeles should still have a strong receiving corps, led by Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin.
At quarterback, the Chargers kept Easton Stick over Cardale Jones. The fifth-round rookie out of North Dakota State will back up Philip Rivers in 2019.
Los Angeles Rams
The most surprising of the Los Angeles Rams' Saturday moves was the release of second-year defensive end John Franklin-Myers. Taken in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, Franklin-Myers was supposed to be a piece of L.A.'s vaunted defensive line rotation. However, he saw the field sparingly last season, amassing just 10 tackles and two sacks in 16 appearances.
Franklin-Myers wasn't going to unseat Michael Brockers or Dante Fowler Jr. as a starter, but it had seemed like he could stick as a depth player.
Los Angeles also parted with seventh-round rookie Dakota Allen and running back John Kelly. The release of Kelly means the Rams will go into 2019 with the trio of Todd Gurley II, Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson at running back.
The Miami Dolphins are in the early stages of yet another rebuild. Therefore, it's not surprising that few noteworthy players were cut from the 53-man roster.
Six-year veteran Brice Butler may be the most prolific player the team released, and he only had six catches for 60 yards last season. With Butler out, DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson will headline Miami's receiving corps after the Dolphins traded Kenny Stills to the Texans along with offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Miami also parted ways with tight end Dwayne Allen after it reached an injury settlement with him. Allen spent the last two seasons with the Patriots but was rarely a factor, catching just 13 passes in that span.
In one of Saturday's least surprising moves, the Minnesota Vikings parted with wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. The 23rd overall pick in the 2016 draft, Treadwell never developed into a consistent starter with the Vikings. He caught just 56 passes in three seasons.
With Chad Beebe's emergence as Minnesota's third receiver behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, there wasn't a role for Treadwell.
Minnesota also parted with wide receiver Jeff Badet, who was hampered by injuries during the preseason. According to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Friday, the Vikings like Badet and he "could be back with the team."
The Vikings also traded guard Danny Isidora to the Dolphins for a 2020 seventh-round pick.
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots parted ways with veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas, which isn't that surprising. With first-round draft pick N'Keal Harry and Josh Gordon in the fold, the Patriots aren't hurting for receivers.
However, there's a chance Thomas will return to New England at some point, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Though he was initially informed he had been waived, versatile rookie Gunner Olszewski did make the final 53. Olszewski became a fan favorite during the preseason, where he played offense, defense and special teams.
Center James Ferentz was also released, which should leave Ted Karras as the starter.
New Orleans Saints
After three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, safety Chris Banjo is out. He appeared in 32 games over the last two seasons but was among the players released ahead of Saturday's deadline.
Defensive tackle Ziggy Hood, who signed with the team in July, was also released.
Another notable cut was undrafted rookie receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey. After flashing during the preseason—he had four catches for 103 yards and a touchdown in four games—Humphrey appeared to have a chance to crack the final 53.
The Saints aren't deep at receiver behind Michael Thomas, so it won't be a surprise if Humphrey lands on the practice squad and gets another chance in New Orleans at some point.
New York Giants
In a move that should surprise no one, the New York Giants released quarterback Kyle Lauletta. Though Lauletta was a fourth-round selection in last year's draft, there was never a realistic spot for him on this year's roster. Eli Manning is your Week 1 starter, and No. 6 pick Daniel Jones will be his understudy.
The Giants did keep a third quarterback, but it was former trick-shot sensation Alex Tanney. Lauletta is eligible for New York's practice squad.
Another surprising player to make the roster was Alonzo Russell. An undrafted free agent in 2016, Russell spent time with the Bengals and Cardinals before he landed with the Giants last season. He spent 2018 on the practice squad but could see a significant early role while Golden Tate serves his four-game suspension.
New York Jets
The New York Jets don't seem fond of former general manager Mike Maccagnan's draft choices. They'll hang on to quarterback Sam Darnold, of course, but they've already started purging several of Maccagnan's additions.
In one of the biggest shockers of cut weekend, the Jets dumped rookie third-round pick Jachai Polite. Normally, a third-round pick would get at least one full season to prove himself, but the Florida product failed to show anything of note in camp or the preseason.
Receiver and 2016 seventh-round selection Charone Peake was also waived.
Quarterback Davis Webb was another surprise cut. With Webb and Luke Falk out, it leaves New York with only Trevor Siemian to back up Darnold.
Kicker Taylor Bertolet made the 53-man roster, but the Jets could look to replace him. Bertolet missed three field-goal attempts and two extra points in the preseason.
The biggest surprise of the Oakland Raiders' cuts was wide receiver Keelan Doss. The undrafted UC Davis product was one of the stars of Oakland's training camp and preseason. He appeared in all four exhibition games and caught 17 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown.
According to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Doss could be brought back to the Raiders' practice squad. However, it seems likely that another team will be willing to sign him to an active roster.
Oakland also parted with tight end Luke Willson, who spent last season with the Lions. With Willson out, Darren Waller should claim the Raiders' starting tight end job.
Waller only caught six passes in four appearances with Oakland last season, but he has quickly gained the confidence of his quarterback.
"Darren has the skill set, he has the want to, he has the aggression to do it," Derek Carr told reporters. "Now, he just has to go do it."
The Philadelphia Eagles have their franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz. Heading into 2019, however, they didn't have a clear idea of who would lead their backfield. After Saturday's cuts, that picture is coming into focus.
Among Philadelphia's roster cuts were running backs Wendell Smallwood, Boston Scott and Josh Adams. The releases of Adams and Smallwood are particularly significant, as both were contributors in 2018.
Adams led the Eagles with 511 yards rushing last season.
Philadelphia heads into 2019 with Jordan Howard and rookie Miles Sanders leading its backfield. As of this writing, Corey Clement and 14-year veteran Darren Sproles are also on the roster.
The Pittsburgh Steelers parted with a familiar face Saturday, releasing three-year veteran Eli Rogers. Though Rogers showed a lot of promise as a rookie in 2016—he caught 48 passes for 594 yards that season—he never emerged as a consistent piece of Pittsburgh's passing attack.
Though Antonio Brown is no longer with the team, the Steelers are still loaded at receiver. With JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson and Donte Moncrief topping the depth chart, Rogers always faced an uphill battle to make the final 53.
Kicker Matthew Wright was also among Pittsburgh's cuts. This means incumbent Chris Boswell will get the chance to redeem himself after last year's 12-miss campaign.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers had a couple of notable cuts this weekend. One was veteran wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who caught 20 passes for 300 yards with the Eagles last season.
The other was guard Joshua Garnett, a 2016 first-round pick. Though Garnett started 11 games as a rookie, he missed all of 2017 after undergoing knee surgery, and he never reclaimed a starting role. He did appear in seven games last season.
Cornerback Quinten Rollins, a 2015 second-round pick of the Packers, was another notable release. San Francisco has little proven depth at cornerback outside Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett—and Verrett has appeared in just five games over the past two seasons because of injuries.
Seattle's trade for pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney was one of Saturday's headline-grabbing transactions.
"It's a big move for us," Seahawks tackle Duane Brown said, per ESPN's Josina Anderson. "He is a game-changer in my opinion."
It was far from the only notable move Seattle made, however. The Seahawks also released wide receiver Jaron Brown, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and cornerback Jamar Taylor, among others.
Brown's release was largely a cap-saving move, while Taylor's release seems to indicate confidence in fourth-round rookie Ugochukwu Amadi. He and Akeem King will likely handle nickelback duties.
One notable player who did not get cut, as of this writing, is running back C.J. Prosise. Seattle has been waiting for three years for Prosise to reach his potential, but the team saw glimpses of it when he ran five times for 42 yards in the preseason finale.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have settled their kicking competition. Veteran Cairo Santos, who appeared in seven games for the Buccaneers last season, was among those released. He'll be replaced by rookie fifth-round pick Matt Gay.
Tampa also parted with fourth-year linebacker Noah Spence, who was drafted in the second round in 2016. He appeared in 12 games last season but finished with only three tackles.
Safety Kentrell Brice, who signed with the team in March, was also released. Justin Evans and Jordan Whitehead should headline Tampa's depth chart at safety, though rookie Mike Edwards could soon force his way into the lineup.
The Tennessee Titans' new-look receiving corps got a little smaller Saturday. Wideouts Cody Hollister, DeAngelo Yancey, Anthony Ratliff-Williams and Papi White were among the players released. Ratliff-Williams, who made noise during summer workouts, had a real shot at making the active roster. He caught two passes for 54 yards in the preseason finale.
Fellow receiver Taywan Taylor was traded to Cleveland on Saturday, per the Browns.
Tennessee also parted with running backs Akeem Hunt and Alex Barnes. This means David Fluellen should again provide depth behind Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis.
The most notable roster cut for the Washington Redskins was 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson. The Redskins tried to trade him but couldn't and released him outright, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson.
The 22nd overall pick in the 2016 draft never lived up to his potential in Washington. He joins Corey Coleman and Laquon Treadwell as first-round receivers from that draft class no longer with their original teams.
Washington also parted with running back Samaje Perine, a 2017 fourth-round pick. This could indicate the Redskins are confident in Derrius Guice's ability to return from last year's torn ACL. The 2018 second-round pick has not played a regular-season game for the Redskins but did rush 11 times for 44 yards in Week 3 of the preseason.
With Guice, Adrian Peterson and receiving back Chris Thompson on the roster, the Redskins backfield should be set.
Reported cuts via NFL.com's tracker unless otherwise noted.