For players on the bubble across the NFL, a phone call Tuesday can bring either very good or very bad news.
That’s the reality as 32 teams downsize from 80 players to 53 by 4 pm ET, setting their initial regular-season rosters and sharing with hundreds of players in the process.
The roster cutdown process is not always straightforward – there will be trades and roster maneuverings to account for injuries – but it is always difficult, just as it’s a sign that the start of the season is finally drawing near.
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NFL PRESEASON TAKEAWAYS:Joint practices, Deshaun Watson saga, QB situations
This year, franchises can sign back 16 players – including more veterans than ever — onto practice squads beginning Wednesday.
In the meantime, here are some of the most notable players across the league who were let go ahead of the Tuesday afternoon deadline.
Browns QB Josh Rosen
He was set to enter his fourth season in the NFL with his sixth different team, but the Browns are reportedly the most recent team to move on from Rosen.
Even with Deshaun Watson suspended 11 games, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski has tabbed Jacoby Brissett as the interim starter until Watson returns Week 13. Cleveland also has Josh Dobbs on the roster behind Watson and Brissett.
The 10th overall selection in the 2018 draft, Rosen, 25, lasted just one season with the Cardinals, the team that drafted him. He joined the Dolphins as a backup the following year. Since then, he has spent time as a reserve or on the practice squad with the Buccaneers, 49ers, Falcons and, most recently, Browns.
Denver had a backup quarterback battle between Johnson and Brett Rypien, and Rypien, for now, came out on top. The Broncos could still look at who’s available after Tuesday’s cutdown before finalizing who they go into the regular season with behind starter Russell Wilson. Johnson is a vested veteran, so he’s free to sign anywhere, though Denver would like for him to return to his practice squad. The 36-year-old quarterback has been with 14 NFL teams in his career and told USA TODAY Sports late last week that the key to handling uncertainty is, “For me, I just keep my faith strong, knowing that I’ll be all right. Just focus on the work and everything will take care of itself.”
Harris started 14 games in Philadelphia last year and before that started 47 games over six seasons for the Minnesota Vikings. Last year, he had 72 tackles (two for loss) to go along with an interception. Harris is a vested veteran, so his release means he is a free agent instead of needing to clear waivers before signing with another team—or back with the Eagles.
Buccaneers DB Logan Ryan
In a surprising move, the Bucs cut Ryan on Tuesday.
Ryan and Tom Brady were teammates on the New England Patriots. They won two Super Bowls in New England. In 2017, Ryan signed with the Tennessee Titans. He played three seasons in Tennessee before joining the New York Giants in 2020. The veteran defensive back reunited with Brady in Tampa Bay this offseason. He was competing for a backup defensive back job with the Bucs.
Entering his 10th season, Ryan has produced 705 tackles, 95 pass deflections and 18 interceptions in 140 career games (115 starts). The versatile defensive back has lined up at safety and cornerback during his career.
A third-year receiver out of Minnesota, Johnson had 36 catches on 55 targets for 360 yards in 2021, but did not catch a touchdown. Even still, Tampa letting him go, according to multiple reports, comes as something of a surprise. The Bucs do have depth at the position, headlined by Mike Evans and Chris Godwin plus offseason addition Julio Jones.
Colts RB Phillip Lindsay
With star running back and reigning rushing leader Jonathan Taylor and backup Nyheim Hines firmly entrenched atop the depth chart, the Colts are reportedly moving on from 2018 Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay. Indianapolis had signed Lindsay to a one-year deal in May but he had struggled to find a footing in Indianapolis, carrying the ball 16 times in the preseason for only 55 yards.
Lindsay, 28, played for two teams last season, the Texans and the Dolphins. Houston released him in November before latching on with Miami for the final four games of the season. Overall, he rushed for 249 yards and one touchdown and also hauled in 45 receiving yards and one receiving score. Lindsay was an undrafted rookie for the Denver Broncos, where he played his first three seasons. His most prolific campaign was his rookie year when he totaled 1,278 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns.
Vikings QB Kellen Mond
The Vikings have released backup quarterback Kellen Mond, their third-round pick of the 2021 draft, a person familiar with the situation confirmed. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.
The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise after Mond struggled this preseason and the Vikings recently acquired Nick Mullens via trade from Oakland.
Mond was a draft selection of the previous regime, but didn’t fit as well with the type of offense new coach Kevin O’Connell wants to run. Mullens, meanwhile, played in a similar system with the 49ers and gives Minnesota a backup with playing experience, having started 17 games in four seasons.
Howard signed a one-year deal with more than $3 million with Buffalo this offseason, but will not make the team’s roster, according to multiple reports Tuesday morning. Howard caught 15 touchdowns and had 119 catches for 1,737 yards over his first five NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but had just 25 total catches in 21 games over the past two seasons. Howard was a first-round draft pick in 2017 out of the University of Alabama.
Chiefs WR Josh Gordon
The veteran wide receiver was released Tuesday after catching one pass in the preseason. Gordon played in 12 games for Kansas City in 2021, catching five passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. The veteran wide receiver, of course, exploded onto the scene in 2013 when he had 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns as a second-year player. From there, though, he was suspended several times for violations of the league’s policy on substance abuse and his best statistical season came in 2018 when he caught 40 passes for 720 yards and three scores in New England. Gordon tweeted Tuesday, “Excited to see where the next part of my football journey takes me.”
Dolphins RB Sony Michel
Michel joined Miami in May on a one-year, $2.1 million deal after playing well for the Super Bowl-champion Rams last year. The fifth-year back rushed for 900-plus yards in each of his first two professional seasons with the New England Patriots in 2018 and 2019 to go along with 13 total rushing touchdowns. The Dolphins, though, will instead head into the regular season with a backfield headed by Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert.
49ers WR Willie Snead
The 49ers are parting ways with Snead, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.
The veteran wide receiver signed a one-year deal with the 49ers in early August and did make a good impression with the team. The 49ers have interest in signing Snead to their practice squad, a person close to the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
Snead entered the league in 2014 as an undrafted free agent. He’s produced 279 receptions, 3,431 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in 95 career games with the Saints, Ravens, Panthers and Raiders.
Jaguars WR Laquon Treadwell
Treadwell, a former first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings, was released Monday after catching 33 passes for 434 yards in Jacksonville last year. The Jags had an active Monday as they also traded receiver Laviska Shenault to Carolina. Treadwell (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) had his best year in 2021, but he has just five career touchdowns in 70 games. Perhaps another team will think they can get more out of him this fall.
Lions LB Jarrad Davis
A first-round pick of Detroit in 2017, Davis had spent four out of his five professional seasons with the Lions before being cut Monday. He started 41 games for the franchise over his first three seasons out of the University of Florida. But he had then just nine in 23 appearances over the past two seasons – 2020 with the New York Jets and last year back in Detroit, when he had a career-low 25 tackles in nine games. The Lions have several options at inside linebacker including Alex Anzalone, Derrick Barnes and rookie sixth-round pick Malcolm Rodriguez.
Bills RB Duke Johnson
Johnson is on his way out of Buffalo. The Bills have decided to cut Johnson after the team signed the veteran running back in March. The well-traveled running back spent his first four years in Cleveland before making stops in Houston, Miami and Buffalo.
The 2015 third-round pick has 530 carries for 2,261 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns in 96 career games.
Buffalo’s top options at running back are expected to be Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and rookie James Cook.
Bears QB Nathan Peterman
The Bears informed Peterman that he’s being cut, but the team would like him back on the practice squad, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.
Peterman was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. He played two seasons in Buffalo and spent two years with the Las Vegas Raiders before joining the Bears. He has 573 passing yards, three touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 10 career games. He’s infamously known for throwing five interceptions in his first career start.
The sixth-year quarterback has been a backup for most of his career.
Punters Sam Martin (Denver) and Brett Kern (Tennessee)
A pair of veteran punters hit the market on Monday when the Broncos and Titans released Martin and Kern, respectively.
Martin has appeared in 139 career games, the past two seasons’ worth in Denver, but keeping Corliss Waitman over him heading into the regular season will save the Broncos $1.425 million on their salary cap.
Kern, meanwhile, was cut by Denver in 2009 and went on to punt for the Titans for more than 12 seasons. He lost a camp battle to rookie Ryan Stonehouse out of Colorado State.
Jets DB Javelin Guidry
A former undrafted free agent, Guidry played in all 17 games for the Jets last year, including three starts. He has appeared in 28 contests over his first two seasons in the NFL. In 2020, he forced four fumbles and last year he recorded 48 total tackles.