NFL teams had to trim their rosters from 75 players to the 53-man regular season limit on Saturday, which means over 700 players are now looking for jobs. It's a bad day for everyone involved, but among those released there are always a few names that stick out who didn't make it.
To contrast, there's always a handful of good stories, too. Quarterback turned receiver Terrelle Pryor caught on with the Cleveland Browns despite changing positions this offseason and a series of injuries in training camp and the preseason, and Australian Rugby League convert Jarryd Hayne made the San Francisco 49ers' 53-man roster after impressing as both a running back and kick returner in his first ever games playing American football.
Those are great stories, and both of those players can make a big difference to their new teams in their own way. But for every good story, there are a lot of notable players who didn't make it. Here's some of the big names from the final round of roster cuts:
QB Tim Tebow
Didn't you know that there's not enough Tim Tebow coverage on the Internet? Seriously though, it was surprising to see Tebow released after he played pretty well throughout the preseason. When the Eagles traded Matt Barkley to the Arizona Cardinals, it looked like Tebow had earned his spot behind Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez. As for why he was released, Eagles coach Chip Kelly simply stated that Tebow wasn't good enough to the be third-string quarterback.
DE Darnell Dockett
The 49ers lost Justin Smith to retirement this offseason, and the recovering Darnell Dockett seemed to be a perfect replacement for the veteran. Dockett does a lot of the same things as well as Smith, and both have slowed down enough in recent years that it seemed like an equal transition. But the 49ers went ahead and released Dockett anyway. There were some injury concerns, but it really looks like the team simply liked what it saw from guys like Tank Carradine and rookie Arik Armstead in the preseason, making Dockett a free agent.
roster cuts tracker
roster cuts tracker
WR James Jones
The New York Giants released wide receiver James Jones, despite the receiver carefully picking the Giants to sign with this offseason. Jones caught 73 passes for 666 yards and six touchdowns in 2014, and has 383 receptions for 4,971 yards and 43 touchdowns since being taken in the third-round by the Green Bay Packers in 2007. Jones seems like he still has plenty left in the tank, and one has to wonder if the Packers or another receiver-needy team snatches him up sooner rather than later. Green Bay lost Jordy Nelson for the season due to injury.
DT Louis Nix III
Nix, a third-round pick in 2014, had a massively high ceiling and starting potential in the NFL, if you believe the pre-draft reports. But he's dealt with injuries since joining the league and wasn't working out with the Texans earlier in the offseason, which head coach Bill O'Brien seemed to have a problem with. Nix missed workouts and most of training camp in his rookie season due to knee surgery, the second of his football career. Unfortunately, he had a third surgery on Sept. 24 and missed that season as well. He still has upside, but teams will have to be convinced of his health first.
DE Da'Quan Bowers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made Da'Quan Bowers a second-round pick in 2011, and he was supposed to form one side of a dominant defensive line. That ... never quite happened, and Bowers put up just seven sacks in his four seasons with the Buccaneers. He played in 50 games and had 66 combined tackles over that time. He's definitely fallen short of his potential to this point, but he's not so far removed from being one of the most promising ends in the league and might be able to find work.
DT Devon Still
The Cincinnati Bengals released Devon Still, a player many are familiar with due to his daughter, Leah, and her battle with cancer. Still was signed to the team's practice squad last season, and because of this the NFL will provide him and his daughter with health care for the next five years. That's obviously great, and Still himself thanked the organization after being released. A second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Still is just 26 years old and will try to catch on with another team, but he'll have to make the 53-man roster as he has no more practice squad eligibility.
These players above are just some of the most notable cuts. There are quite a few other players who are notable, including running back Robert Turbin, who was released by the Seattle Seahawks; quarterback Matt Cassel, who narrowly lost a quarterback battle against Tyrod Taylor with the Buffalo Bills; and IK Enemkpali, a linebacker who is best known for punching New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith in the locker room.
There's also former Indianapolis Colts and now New England Patriots wide receiver Reggie Wayne. It's unclear why, but Wayne asked the Patriots for his release, and the team is calling it a mutual parting of ways. Wayne is 36 years old and has over 14,000 receiving yards, so it's possible he realized that he wants to call it a career at some point since signing with the Patriots on Aug. 24.
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