The NFL preseason is over and today is always a tough day in the calendar year for players getting cut as the teams trim their rosters to 53 active players for the regular season. We are keeping updating tabs on some of the bigger name players who are now free agents:
Demariyus Thomas – WR, New England Patriots
Eli Rogers – WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacob Hollister – TE, Seattle Seahawks
Noah Spence – LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kaare Vedvik – K/P, Minnesota Vikings
Jaron Brown – WR, Seattle Seahawks
Cassius Marsh – DE, Seattle Seahawks
Wendell Smallwood – RB, Philadelphia Eagles
DeShone Kizer – QB, Green Bay Packers
Apparently dressing up as Chubbs wasn’t enough to secure his roster spot.
Jachai Polite – DE, New York Jets
This may be the first legitimate surprise of cut-down day. Polite was a third-round pick in this year’s draft, and fell due to off-field issues and inconsistent production. The Jets apparently decided four months of evaluation was enough to cut him loose.
Kyle Lauletta – QB, New York Giants
Kyle Sloter – QB, Minnesota Vikings
Britton Colquitt – P, Cleveland Browns
Brian Hoyer – QB, New England Patriots
Keelan Doss – WR, Oakland Raiders
Dwayne Allen – TE, Miami Dolphins
Jeremy McNichols – RB, Tennessee Titans
Joshua Garnett- OL, San Francisco 49ers
Jordan Matthews – WR, San Francisco 49ers
Josh Doctson – WR, Washington Redskins
Sam Ficken – K, Green Bay Packers
Mason Crosby has officially won the kicking battle in Green Bay after his worst year since 2015. Crosby hurt the Packers last year with his inconsistency, but everything was out of whack on last year’s team, and clearly the new coaching staff has faith in a bounceback year.
Tank Carradine – DE, Miami Dolphins
Laquon Treadwell – WR, Minnesota Vikings
LeSean McCoy – RB, Buffalo Bills
In a surprise that shook the NFL world, the Bills cut veteran running back LeSean McCoy. He was the Bills primary playmaker for the past half-decade, but is coming off his worst season with the Bills. It appears rookie Devin Singletary did enough to earn his coach’s respect, and they also have veteran Frank Gore.
Regardless, the Shady era is over in Buffalo.
Additional notable cuts from August 31.
Zach Zenner – RB, Detroit Lions
This move came as a bit of a surprise to Lions fans, who admired Zenner for his grit. Sure, Zenner wasn’t a superstar in his four seasons with the Detroit Lions, but he was a dependable third-down and goal-line back, and there’s always a place for those in the NFL. He also added some special teams value.
This move is especially head-scratching considering that the move still left the Lions with five running-backs – and not long after, they added a sixth, undrafted free agent James Williams from Washington State.
Malcolm Smith – LB, San Francisco 49ers
Not even former Super Bowl MVPs are immune to the axe. (Just ask Desmond Howard.)
Since his glory days – or should I say, glory day – in Seattle, Smith has struggled to find his place on an NFL roster. He failed to retain his place in Oakland, an injury took away his entire 2017 season and most of his 2018 season with the 49ers, and just before this regular season, he lost favor with head coach Kyle Shanahan, who preferred the younger and hungrier Dre Greenlaw. There was little place for Smith in San Francisco.
Terrelle Pryor – WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
This may be the end of the road for the former national champion and Heisman Trophy candidate, who just never managed to find his way in the NFL as either a quarterback or a receiver, aside from one great 2016 season with the Cleveland Browns where he accrued over 1,000 yards receiving for a team that went 1-15. A constant stream of injuries took away the flash and athleticism that he showed at Ohio State, and the Jaguars are the fourth team in the past two years to realize that Pryor has very little left in the tank.
Su’a Cravens – S, Denver Broncos
Cravens has had a turbulent NFL career. Drafted in 2016 by Washington, he battled injuries his rookie season and briefly retired, before returning with his contract traded to Denver. His knee problems returned, sidelining him for the first half of the 2018 season. He ultimately played only five games for the Broncos. Cravens tried to find a place on the team as a linebacker, but according to RotoWorld, new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said he had to make the team as a full-time defensive back. Evidently that did not happen.
Elliott Fry – K, Chicago Bears/Baltimore Ravens
This has been a rough off-season for NFL kickers. Cody Parkey has still yet to find a spot on an NFL roster. The Minnesota Vikings dealt Kaare Vedvik to the Baltimore Ravens, where he missed kick after kick. But Elliott Fry has had it harder than anyone, now having to deal with being cut for the second time in less than a month.
After having put up with Vedvik for one game, the Ravens brought Fry on board for their final preseason game, where he showed a dramatic improvement from his earlier form. Despite hitting both of his field goal attempts and both of his extra point attempts, he had little chance to keep the Ravens’ kicking job. After all, a team with Justin Tucker – as of now, the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history – is pretty much set. Still, we may not have heard the last of Fry.
Taylor Heinicke – QB, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers had a logjam at the quarterback position this year, as three players battled for the two backup positions behind Cam Newton. Despite a mid-ankle sprain, Newton is expected to start the season opener against the Rams, with second-year Kyle Allen backing him up. The battle for the third-string position came down to Will Grier – the Panthers’ third-round draft pick from West Virginia – and the 26-year-old Heinicke.
Despite some shaky performances in the preseason, Grier ultimately won out over Heinicke, who never rose above the fourth-tier throughout training camp.
Brandon Marshall – LB, Oakland Raiders
The Raiders signed Marshall hoping that he had gotten over the injuries that had struck him has a Denver Bronco. Instead, his pass coverage has continued to slide, and his play just hasn’t been worth the $1,000,000 he’s taken up in cap space. The former Super Bowl champion will face an uphill climb looking for a new roster spot in the NFL.