In preseasons past, NFL teams would cut their roster to 75 players in mid-August before finalizing their 53-man rosters after their final preseason game. The league did something different this year, letting teams keep up to 90 players on their rosters right up until the 53-man deadline, which is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
The change led to a flurry of activity on the NFL wire on Friday as teams worked out trades and started the process of chopping their rosters from 90 to 53.
You can see all the cuts made by teams in our NFL roster cuts tracker, which will be updated through the Saturday deadline. But here are the 10 most notable moves made during a busy NFL Friday.
1. Jets trade Richardson to Seahawks
Sheldon Richardson was due to leave the Jets as a free agent after this season. It turns out he'll be playing for a new team sooner than expected.
The Seahawks acquired Richardson from the Jets on Friday in exchange for receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round pick in the 2018 draft. The teams also swapped seventh-round picks in that same draft.
Richardson joins a fearsome front four in Seattle, where he'll get to line up alongside Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark. He'll make a little more than $8 million this season before heading into free agency, provided he doesn't re-up with the Seahawks before getting there.
Kearse heads to a New York team that's siphoned off talent all season, and he could eventually emerge as Josh McCown's (or Christian Hackenberg's, or Bryce Petty's) No. 1 weapon in the passing game.
You can click here to read more about the deal, including which defensive lineman the Seahawks could be looking to trade next.
2. Seahawks swap out defensive backs in two more trades
The Richardson deal wasn't the only one made by a busy Seahawks front office Friday. Seattle also swapped out cornerbacks, bringing in Justin Coleman from the Patriots in exchange for a seventh-round pick, then reportedly agreeing to a deal to send Tramaine Brock to the Vikings in exchange for a seventh-round pick.
Seahawks are finalizing a trade with the Vikings to send CB Tramaine Brock to Minnesota, source says. Busy day in Seattle.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 1, 2017
Coleman, who initially signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent, played in 20 games with the Patriots over the last two years, including three starts. Though he played just 224 snaps for the Patriots last year, he was the team's most effective cornerback in terms of fewest yards allowed per coverage snap, according to Pro Football Focus.
Brock put together a great season for the 49ers last year, ranking 16th among 119 qualified cornerbacks in PFF rating. The Seahawks signed him in mid-August after his felony domestic violence charge was dismissed. He could still be subject to discipline under the league's domestic violence policy.
As for his role with the Vikings:
Sources I've talked to see Tramaine Brock as a strong candidate to become the #Vikings nickel back. Mackensie Alexander might be out in role— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) September 1, 2017
3. Osweiler's short tenure with the Browns ends
The Browns managed to swing a notable trade with the Texans back in March, acquiring free agent bust Brock Osweiler, a 2018 second-round pick and a 2017 sixth-round pick in exchange for only a fourth-round pick in this year's draft. It was seen at the time as the Browns essentially buying a second-round pick at the cost of Osweiler's fully guaranteed 2017 salary of $16 million.
That's turned out to be the case despite protestations by the Browns that Osweiler would be given a chance to earn the starting job, as the Browns cut the quarterback on Friday. The team will move forward with rookie DeShone Kizer as their starter and Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan behind him on the depth chart.
With Osweiler's salary fully guaranteed for this season, they pick up no cap space with the move. He's now free to sign with any team, including the one that drafted him in 2012, the Denver Broncos, if the two sides are interested in a reunion.
4. Cruz can't stick with Bears
The Bears have dealt with key losses at the receiver position this offseason, both via free agency with Alshon Jeffery leaving for Philadelphia and through injury, with presumed No. 1 target Cameron Meredith suffering a torn ACL. The wide-open depth chart seemed to be good news for Victor Cruz before he suffered a knee injury in Thursday's preseason finale.
Whether Cruz is deemed healthy or not, he reportedly won't have a spot on the 53-man roster.
BREAKING: The #Bears are releasing former @Giants WR Victor Cruz, per source.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) September 1, 2017
Clarifying on Victor Cruz: He injured his knee last night. MRI tonight. If it's clear, #Bears will cut him. If he's hurt, IR/settlement.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 1, 2017
Cruz, 30, broke out for the Giants in 2011, racking up 1,536 yards on 82 catches and scoring nine TDs. After another 1,000-yard season and 10 more TDs in 2012, his career has been derailed by injuries. He played in just six games in 2014 before missing all of 2015 and returning last year to manage just 586 yards and one touchdown on 39 receptions.
The former Giant will look to latch on with another team after rosters are reduced to 53, but considering he was unable to stick with the receiver-needy Bears, his odds of playing for a team in the regular season seem to be fading.
5. Cowboys say goodbye to one-time notable RB
Ronnie Hillman seemed to tease Fantasy owners for years after being taken by the Broncos early in the third round of the 2012 draft, and he finally enjoyed a mini-breakout in 2015, scoring seven touchdowns and making 10 starts in his final year with the Broncos.
Fast forward to September 2017, and he's now looking to join his fourth team since leaving Denver.
The Cowboys cut Hillman on Friday after he managed to gain just 12 yards on eight carries during the preseason. The move could signify that the team has faith that Ezekiel Elliott will be available for Week 1 after the appeal of his suspension is ruled upon next week. If Elliott is unavailable and no other running back is added, the team would likely feature Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Rod Smith against the Giants next Sunday.
Hillman saw action with the Vikings and Chargers in 2016, rushing for 131 yards on 41 carries.
6. No Johnson and Johnson in Arizona backfield
Chris Johnson has seen his role dwindle in recent years after proving to be a force early in his career. That career could be in jeopardy after he was released by the Cardinals on Friday.
Johnson, who has a 2,000-yard season on his resume from back in 2009, saw just 25 carries with the Cardinals last season, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown. He totaled at least 1,000 rushing yards in all six of his seasons with Tennessee but has been unable to recapture that magic in stops with the Jets and Cardinals. The running back, who turns 32 in September, fumbled twice in the Cardinals' third preseason game, and the inability to protect the ball may have been what sealed his fate.
With the release, Kerwynn Williams is expected to be the team's primary backup behind David Johnson.
7. 49ers roll with young backs behind Hyde
Any running back who could see time in Kyle Shanahan's offense is a name worth knowing. For a brief period during the summer it looked like Tim Hightower could possibly be playing his way into a key role in the new 49ers coach's offense. The opposite proved true Friday, with the team making Hightower one of their early cuts leading up to the roster deadline.
Hightower resurfaced with the Saints in 2015 and showed occasional flashes of brilliance over the last two seasons, making his signing with the 49ers notable on the surface. But he was outplayed by undrafted free-agent Matt Breida, who looks to be the team's No. 2 back heading into the regular season ahead of fourth-round rookie Joe Williams and special-teams contributor Raheem Mostert.
Including starter Carlos Hyde, the 49ers won't have any running backs on the roster older than 25 after the release of Hightower.
8. Ravens give up on Zuttah yet again
Jeremy Zuttah is finding himself to be in a love-hate relationship with the Ravens, and that relationship turned cold again Friday when he was included in the team's initial cuts.
Zuttah was traded to the 49ers in March despite putting together another solid season in Baltimore as the Ravens looked to cut costs. After being cut by the 49ers in early August, Zuttah landed back on the Ravens on a two-year deal, bringing a familiar name to the interior of the team's offensive line after the Ravens suffered losses via both injury and retirement.
But Zuttah's stay proved to be a short one, as he was shown the door after the Ravens struck a deal with the Cardinals to acquire Tony Bergstrom for a conditional seventh-round pick. Bergstrom will enter the mix to start at center for the Ravens.
9. Falcons pick up offensive line depth from the Broncos
The Broncos have made a concerted effort to improve their offensive line this offseason, signing Ronald Leary and Menelik Watson in free agency, then drafting tackle Garrett Bolles in the first round. As such, they didn't have any need for former second-round pick Ty Sambrailo, who was sent to the Falcons in exchange for a fifth-round pick on Friday.
Sambrailo is likely ticketed for a swing tackle role as a backup with the Falcons, who have Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder starting at the ends of their offensive line. The Falcons could also try Sambrailo out inside at right guard, where the team has been looking for a starter to emerge since the retirement of Chris Chester this offseason.
In Denver, Donald Stephenson is likely to serve as the third tackle behind Bolles and Watson.
10. Steelers clear path for Conner, Watson
After Knile Davis surprisingly drew the start for the Steelers in their third preseason game, it looked like he could find a way to make the team's final 53-man roster. However, both he and Fitzgerald Toussaint were reportedly sent packing on Friday, leaving the team without a ton of experience behind starter Le'Veon Bell.
On a big news day for #Steelers RBs, source says they are releasing RB Knile Davis.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 1, 2017
The Steelers releasing RB Fitz Toussaint, per source. Spent two years with Steelers and team likes his... https://t.co/iCJXys1jIz— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 1, 2017
Bell, who reported to the team as expected on Friday, will get as much work as he can handle. Behind him on the depth chart is James Conner, the team's third-round rookie who flashed during the preseason.
Terrell Watson was surprisingly able to beat out Davis and Toussaint for the No. 3 spot after rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown this preseason. Waived by the Eagles in May, Watson has performed well in each of the last two offseasons and has apparently finally found a way to stick on an NFL roster.
The Steelers could also keep their eyes open on the waiver wire for a more established presence to bring in behind Bell and Conner. As you can see above, plenty of notable names are now looking for new teams.