The NFL preseason reached a new and morbid milestone on Tuesday, as teams were forced to cut their rosters down to 80 players before the 4 p.m. ET deadline. As with last week’s first round of NFL roster cuts, roughly 150 players lost their jobs following the second week of the exhibition slate.
Teams will be forced to cut their rosters down to the 53-man limit on Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. ET.
Notable moves from second wave of NFL roster cuts
Similar to last week’s mass exodus, the NFL roster churn had some notable casualties this week. Unfortunately for the unlucky competitors, they’ll either hit the waiver wire or search for work elsewhere with a short turnaround to prove themselves worthy of roster spots.
Here are the 13 most notable moves from the second wave of roster cuts:
Chase Young heads to PUP/Reserve list
Washington Commanders pass rusher Chase Young will miss at least the first four games of the regular season. The Commanders placed Young on the physically unable to perform (PUP) reserve list in order to cut their roster down to 80 on Tuesday. Young is recovering from an ACL injury and has missed the entire preseason and training camp. He will now sit until at least Week 5.
Young had a disappointing sophomore season before suffering a knee injury in Week 10. Now, he will need to overcome a late start to his third season ahead of the all-important fifth-year option decision for the Commanders.
Along with Young, the Commanders placed starting center Ted Larsen on the PUP/reserve list. Like Young, Larsen will miss the first four games of the season.
The Commanders also placed linebacker Nathan Gerry on injured reserve, waived wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, and released offensive tackle Rashod Hill on Tuesday.
Raiders trade QB Nick Mullens to Vikings
Who doesn’t like an obscure backup QB trade in the middle of the preseason? Following Jarrett Stidham’s preseason awakening in Las Vegas, the Raiders decided to get something for journeyman backup Nick Mullens. Luckily for them, the Vikings — whose QB depth chart behind starter Kirk Cousins features the yawn-and-yikes duo of Sean Mannion and Kellen Mond — were willing takers.
The Vikings sent a conditional 2024 seventh-round pick to Las Vegas for Mullens, who will join his fifth team within 18 months. Mullens spent last summer with the Eagles before being cut. He then ended up on the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad in the middle of the season and was able to start a game after COVID-19 ravaged the QB depth chart. He signed with the Raiders this offseason, and through some sort of magic, became trade bait for the Vikings. The NFL is a wild place.
That said, Mullens is the first QB that head coach Kevin O’Connell has been able to bring in with no connections to the previous regime. That pedigree should help Mullens as he looks to make the squad with one more preseason game left on the docket.
Bills trade G Cody Ford to the Cardinals
The Buffalo Bills sent former second-round pick Cody Ford to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday. Ford had failed to find his footing with Buffalo during his first three seasons, and clearly, the Bills were ready to move on. The Bills received a 2023 fifth-round pick for Ford, who will now compete for a starting guard spot in the desert.
Ford has some versatility, as he can play both guard spots and right tackle. However, the Cardinals are probably going to insert him in one of the two guard spots heading into the season. Ford seemed like a decent option for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the trade market, but now he’s heading to Arizona.
Raiders release RB Kenyan Drake
The Raiders were busy on Monday. They traded Mullens to the Vikings and then reportedly released veteran running back Kenyan Drake. While former first-round pick Josh Jacobs appeared to be on the trade block earlier this summer, the release of Drake leaves that potential move off the table.
Drake is the latest member of the previous leadership era to get the ax. Drake should receive interest from other teams ahead of Week 1. The Raiders will take on $3.6 million dead money following Drake’s departure.
Patriots waive TE Dalton Keene
When the Patriots are ready to move on from a former draft pick, they typically don’t waste much time. Despite Keene being a former third-round pick, the Patriots had seen enough, even as he was entering his third season. Following the additions of Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, and Devin Asiasi last offseason, the writing was kind of on the wall for Keene, who played in just six games as a rookie before missing all of last season with a knee injury.
Keene has prototypical size at 6-foot-4 and 251 pounds. He should get another shot elsewhere based on his draft pedigree.
Rams waive Kendall Blanton, Commanders pick him up
The second wave of cuts has been tough on the “F” position. Blanton, who filled in as a starter in the Rams’ Super Bowl win in February, couldn’t even last until final cuts. The 6-6, 262-pound tight end hit the waiver wire on Saturday, but he was quickly snatched up by the Commanders with a claim on Sunday. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Kansas City Chiefs also attempted to claim Blanton on the wire.
Blanton has 12 games of regular-season experience and was a role player during the Rams’ big playoff run last year. Joining the Commanders could be a blessing for Blanton, as Logan Thomas returns from an ACL injury. Blanton could be a big redzone target and efficient extra blocker for QB Carson Wentz.
Texans cut FB Andy Janovich
The Texans were one of 22 teams with at least one fullback on their roster entering training camp. Now, they are fullback-less, as Janovich received his walking papers on Sunday. Janovich signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract during the offseason and was due a guaranteed $700,000, but the Texans cut him anyway. That’s not a great look for a veteran starting fullback.
Janovich will look to rebound with a team that needs an experienced lead blocker. A team like the New York Giants or New York Jets could make sense.
Steelers release LB Genard Avery
Avery, a former sub-package player for the Philadelphia Eagles, was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday. Avery signed with the Steelers during free agency after the Eagles upgraded their SAM position with the arrival of Haason Reddick.
Avery was expected to have a backup outside linebacker role with the Steelers this season. Instead, the Steelers are going in a different direction. Avery should draw interest as a hybrid linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He’s too small to rush the passer from a three-point stance, but he’s a solid blitzer as a SAM linebacker.
Bills release P Matt Haack
While this seemed like a mere formality after the Bills drafted the “Punt God” Matt Araiza in April, Haack is still a quality veteran punter. Haack has been in the league for five seasons, and he is used to punting in the cold of Buffalo in the winter. That background won’t be lost on teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers, if they decide to switch up their specialist units.
Punters on other rosters are now competing against the appeal of Haack this week in training camp and the preseason.
Jaguars blow up their kicker competition
The Jaguars have struggled to find a consistent kicker throughout the offseason. After staging a kicking competition between Elliott Fry and Ryan Santoso, the Jaguars waived both within the last week. Santoso was cut on Tuesday ahead of the 80-man deadline in order to make room for QB Jake Luton, who was re-signed after a week away from Duval County.
The Jaguars own top priority on the waiver wire, and the Los Angeles Chargers waived kicker James McCourt on Monday. Jacksonville claimed McCourt on Tuesday afternoon.
Prior to the blowup, the Jaguars’ kicker competition was the lamest summer competition since “The Meg” led the domestic movie box office in August 2018.
Jaguars trade for offensive lineman
The Jaguars traded an undisclosed draft pick to the Green Bay Packers for offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen on Tuesday, according to ESPN. Despite the Jaguars’ top priority on the waiver wire, the franchise clearly didn’t want to risk the Packers hanging onto Van Lanen.
Lanen, entering his second season, played just one game during his rookie campaign. A sixth-round pick last year, Lanen appeared to be in for a short stint with the Packers, given their OL depth. Now, the Jaguars gain a backup guard, and the Packers get a likely late-round pick.
Jets end their kicking competition
The Jets have chosen veteran kicker Greg Zuerlein over Eddy Piñeiro. The team cut Piñeiro on Tuesday following the team’s second preseason matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Zuerlein has been in the league for over a decade and was competing following a down year with the Dallas Cowboys. Now, he will be the only kicker on the Jets’ roster.
Piñeiro will now be subject to waivers and could get another shot elsewhere.
Cowboys end their kicking competition, too
The Cowboys found their replacement for Zuerlein on the same day their former kicker was awarded a starting job with the Jets. Brett Maher has beaten out Lirim Hajrallahu for the gig.
Hajrallahu has bounced around the NFL and CFL for years but has yet to find a steady job. Maher also had a similarly nomadic career before earning the Cowboys’ kicker job. The Cowboys could still look for an upgrade over the next few weeks.
Can we make sure this is in every roster cuts post at the bottom? I think it needs to be added to Mike’s yesterday
2022 NFL roster cuts tracker
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