With three preseason games in the books, the process of narrowing down to the final 53-man rosters took the next step on Monday with several teams making moves to drop from 90 to 75 players. There were a few notable names released in the first wave of cuts while a few players still on rosters also made headlines.
That and more as we take a look back at Monday's NFL headlines.
Most expected the Bills to start a rookie quarterback in Week 1, but few expected that rookie to be Jeff Tuel and not E.J. Manuel. With Manuel's status unknown and Kevin Kolb out with a concussion, Tuel is penciled in to start the Bills' season opener. Doug Marrone said the plan is to start Tuel against New England unless Manuel is healthy enough to play. Although he has had a few strong moments during camp, Tuel starting against Tom Brady was likely not the way Buffalo fans envisioned the season starting. Via Buffalo Rumblings:
Tuel, 22, is an undrafted free agent out of Washington State. Heading into training camp, there were doubts as to whether or not he'd even make the team, as the Bills seemed to prefer the idea of keeping two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. A strong start to the preseason made it clear that he'd make the team as a third quarterback, but clearly, the fact that he's now likely going to be squaring off against Tom Brady in his first professional start was not the team's plan by any stretch.
Suspensions for testing positive for Adderall have been common in the NFL recently, but the league may change its policy slightly. The NFL and the NFL Players Association are discussing a deal which would move Adderall, diuretics and similar substances from the performance-enhancing policy to the substance-abuse policy.
If the changes are made, the first positive test would result in a player being entered into a treatment program, not a four-game suspension. The policy change is part of a few changes which the NFL is agreeing to in an effort to facilitate an agreement on HGH testing.
Arizona's offensive line suffered a major blow on Saturday when rookie first-round pick Jonathan Cooper broke his leg. The injury will keep Cooper out of the majority of the season, but may not cost the No. 7 pick his entire rookie season. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Cooper could return in 10-12 weeks, meaning he may be healthy enough to play the final four to six games of the year.
As Jess Root of Revenge of the Birds wrote, the recovery timetable means Arizona will likely place Cooper on injured reserve with the designation to return. If he's healthy, he can be activated later in the season. The move will allow Arizona to fill his spot on the 53-man roster until then.
Buffalo will be without its top cornerback for the foreseeable future after Stephon Gilmore fractured his wrist. Gilmore is expected to miss between six and eight weeks, which would cause him to miss the first four to six weeks of the season. The Bills opted against putting Gilmore on injured reserve with the designation to return, a move which would have kept him out at least eight weeks.
The Bills' cornerback depth will be tested now. Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings took a closer look at how the depth chart may shake out until Gilmore returns:
Gilmore is far and away the team's top cornerback, and the Bills will be scrambling to replace him in the lineup. Leodis McKelvin now becomes the top cornerback for the foreseeable future, and players like Ron Brooks, Nickell Robey, Justin Rogers and Crezdon Butler will compete for playing time on the other side of the field.
Veteran Will Smith suffered a knee injury during the preseason and may be out for the entire season, according to a report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Smith was transitioning from defensive end to outside linebacker in New Orleans' new 3-4 defensive scheme. He is the second key defensive player to suffer a season-ending injury, joining linebacker Victor Butler on the sideline.
The Saints traded for Parys Haralson Monday night, in a move which will help offset the loss of Smith. Canal Street Chronicles has more on the deal for Haralson, including what kind of impact he may make in New Orleans.
NFL teams must cut their rosters from 90 to 75 by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, but a few teams got an early start and made their initial cuts on Monday. Braylon Edwards, who was released by the Jets, was one of the most notable names released on Monday.
SB Nation has a stream dedicated to the first wave of cuts and you can find the complete details here.