For the first time this season, the NFL let teams carry up to 90 players on their rosters until the final cutdown deadline on Saturday, and that change led to a flurry of activity around the league.
You can catch up with all the cuts from every team in our roster cuts tracker, but if you don't want to pour over 1,000-plus names, we have one key takeaway for each team from the weekend of roster posturing below.
Before we get to the team-by-team breakdown, here are links to the biggest stories of the weekend if you'd like to dive a bit deeper:
- Patriots trade Jacoby Brissett to the Colts
- Browns cut Osweiler, who is set to rejoin the Broncos
- Jets trade Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks
- Broncos cut Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward, trade Ty Sambrailo to the Falcons
- Steelers trade Sammie Coates to the Browns
Check out Pete Prisco's All-Cut Team to see the best players released at each position. Now let's get to a takeaway from each team's final 53-man decisions.
Bills: Receiver, cornerback units get even weaker
The Bills announced early in August that they'd be playing for the future this year by trading Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby for lesser players at wide receiver and cornerback while picking up two Day 2 draft picks. Those two positions got even weaker on Saturday, with Rod Streater being released with an injury settlement after hurting his toe in the preseason finale and Kevon Seymour being shipped to the Panthers for receiver Kaelin Clay and a 2019 late-round pick. The Bills head into Week 1 with Jordan Matthews, who's dealing with a chest injury, and rookie Zay Jones as their top receivers.
Dolphins: Lock up suspended safety with four-year deal
Amid the team's cuts, which included three 2016 draft picks, and other transactions, the Dolphins reportedly worked out a four-year extension for safety T.J. McDonald worth $24 million, including $10 million guaranteed, per NFL.com. McDonald was suspended for the first eight games of 2017 while still a free agent as a result of his DUI arrest last year. Soon after the suspension was announced, the Dolphins scooped up the former Ram. With the money he's making as part of his new deal, he'll return as a starter next to Reshad Jones in the defensive backfield.
Patriots: Round out receiver corps with Colts bust
The Patriots suffered a big preseason injury when Julian Edelman was lost for the season. They made a move Saturday to bolster their receiver depth chart by acquiring former first-round pick Phillip Dorsett from the Colts in exchange for third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Not only will Dorsett slot in as the team's fifth receiver once he's up to speed, he could be in the mix to serve as the team's punt returner after the loss of Cyrus Jones to a season-ending injury.
Jets: Forte becomes rare veteran to stick with Jets
The Jets made their big move Friday, shipping off Sheldon Richardson for a second-round pick and Jermaine Kearse, who could eventually emerge as the team's top receiving threat. One notable name to survive the chopping block was Matt Forte, the 31-year-old running back who was reportedly on the trading block and then on the roster bubble leading up to the deadline. The Jets will instead carry Forte and his fully guaranteed $4 million into what promises to be a trying season in New York.
Ravens: Make two trades to boost offensive line
The Ravens clearly weren't happy with the bodies on their offensive line after losing Alex Lewis and Nico Siragusa to injury and John Urschel to retirement. After re-signing Jeremy Zuttah in the last week to boost their interior line competition, they cut ties with Zuttah on Friday after dealing for Cardinals lineman Tony Bergstrom. They went back to the well again Saturday, trading a draft pick for Jaguars lineman Luke Bowanko. Even though Joe Flacco was able to return to practice Saturday, having a patchwork offensive line in front of him might put his health in danger all season if the team can't find a formula that works.
Bengals: Elliott cut after being first kicker drafted in 2017
The Bengals made Jake Elliott the first kicker selected in the 2017 draft, opting to spend a fifth-round pick on the 22-year-old out of Memphis. On Saturday, the team decided to move forward with Randy Bullock, who only missed one of his nine attempts with the Bengals last year and outkicked the rookie during practice and preseason action. Coach Marvin Lewis told the team's official website that the competition wasn't even close.
Browns: Find a deep weapon in trade with Steelers
The Browns cut several notable names this week, in fact leading Pete Prisco's All-Cut Team with four selections, but one guy they added Saturday is Sammie Coates after a swap of late-round picks with the Steelers. Coates was squeezed off the roster in Pittsburgh with Martavis Bryant's return, and while he didn't live up to his potential with the Steelers, he did manage to top 20 yards per catch in his 14 appearances last season. He'll contribute on special teams initially, but his deep-ball skills could wind up clicking with the strong arm of rookie DeShone Kizer.
Steelers: Not much experience behind Bell
It wasn't surprising to see rookie James Conner survive cut day after the team spent a third-round pick on him this year, but it was a bit surprising to see the Steelers go forward with only a similarly inexperienced running back behind him. Terrell Watson has become a practice MVP since entering the league and flashed potential in the preseason. Those two are currently the only backs in place behind elite starter Le'Veon Bell, who just reported to the team Friday. It'll be fascinating to see the type of production the Steelers get from their backs early in the season.
Texans: Shorthanded at receiver to start the year
The Texans signed No. 1 weapon DeAndre Hopkins to a record extension last week, reportedly giving up $49 million in guaranteed money. It's a boatload of cash for one receiver, and the Texans may need him to play like two or three different receivers to start the year. The team's initial 53-man roster includes just four receivers, and that includes Will Fuller, who's on the shelf with a broken collarbone. Jaelen Strong is suspended for the first game of the year, leaving the Texans with just Braxton Miller and Bruce Ellington behind Hopkins for Week 1 against the Jaguars. Expect the team to add a receiver before Sunday, possibly placing Fuller on the IR with the intent to bring him back after eight weeks.
Colts: Find Luck fill-in through Patriots trade
The Colts had apparently seen all they needed to of Scott Tolzien to know that they needed a better option to fill in for the injured Andrew Luck. So they traded first-round bust Phillip Dorsett to the Patriots in order to acquire second-year quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who started two games last year while Tom Brady served his Deflategate suspension. Brissett is coming off perhaps the best performance in preseason history, throwing for 341 yards and four touchdowns while adding another score on the ground, and he gives the Colts a player with upside to slot in behind Luck when healthy and to potentially win games when needed (rather than try not to lose them).
Jaguars: Keep three QBs, pass on Kaepernick
The Jaguars have one of the weaker QB situations in the league, with Blake Bortles looking like he would lose his starting job to Chad Henne this preseason before being named the team's QB1. With Colin Kaepernick still unsigned in September, it's fair to wonder if the former 49er was the team's best option. Tom Coughlin shut down that talk Saturday during a conference call, per Jacksonville.com, saying they looked at Kaepernick and "weren't interested." Even without Kaepernick, the team opted to keep a third QB, 2016 sixth-rounder Brandon Allen, behind their uninspiring pair.
Titans: Receivers set, Sharpe stashed on IR
The Titans did more work to their receiver group than at any other position this offseason, signing Eric Decker and drafting Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor. With the new names in Tennessee and Rishard Matthews a roster lock after a productive 2016, there wasn't much room for any other holdovers. Harry Douglas landed the fifth spot, with former mid-round pick Tajae Sharpe being stashed on the IR with a foot injury. Tre McBride and Eric Weems were among the receivers cut Saturday.
Broncos: Keep undrafted FA safety over Ward
The big news from Denver on Saturday, aside from the team reportedly reuniting with former quarterback Brock Osweiler, was the decision to part ways with longtime safety T.J. Ward. The decision to move on from Ward saved the team $4.5 million in cap room, bringing an abrupt end to the tenure of a player who made 41 starts for the Broncos over the last three years. The Broncos are rolling with just two backup safeties behind Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons: second-year player Will Parks and UDFA rookie Jamal Carter. Ward will certainly latch on with another team, so if the Broncos lose a starter at safety and deal with struggles from the position, expect this move to be second-guessed ad infinitum.
Chiefs: Have just two RBs after cutting Spiller
The Chiefs lost presumed starter Spencer Ware to a season-ending injury during the preseason, and it seemed like C.J. Spiller would almost certainly make the initial 53 as a result. However, Spiller was part of Saturday's cuts, leaving the Chiefs with just two running backs on the roster: rookie Kareem Hunt and former starter Charcandrick West. It's extremely unlikely the Chiefs head into Week 1 with only two backs, and GM Brett Veach said on Saturday that Spiller could be brought back. Expect a move to help the backfield in the coming days.
Chargers: First-round pick comes off PUP
Mike Williams missed all of camp while rehabbing a back injury after the Chargers made him the No. 7 overall pick in this year's draft, and with a report that the team was eyeing an October debut for the rookie, it seemed like he might stay on the PUP list to start the year. But Williams surprisingly made the team's 53-man roster on Saturday, leaving him eligible to play immediately rather than having to miss the first six weeks of the season. He still figures to miss the team's regular-season debut, but it appears new Chargers fans in Los Angeles will get to see the team's new receiving star sooner rather than later.
Raiders: Part ways with 2016 third-round pick
The Raiders have apparently given up on Shilique Calhoun after just one season, making the second-year linebacker one of their final cuts on Saturday. Calhoun's rookie season was ended prematurely by a knee injury, but he won't get a second chance to make an impression in 2017. With summer standout LaTroy Lewis also being cut, the team is rolling with second-year players Cory James and Tyrell Adams along with fifth-round rookie Marquel Lee and UDFA Nicholas Morrow at the linebacker position alongside pass rushers Bruce Irvin and James Cowser.
Cowboys: Add Benwikere to cornerback mix
On offense, the big move for the Cowboys was undrafted free agent Cooper Rush turning a big preseason into the No. 2 QB role, which you can read more about here. On defense, the team added a new name to its mix of cornerback talent, sending a 2019 sixth-round pick to the Bengals in exchange for Bene Benwikere. He was excellent as a rookie with the Panthers in 2014 but his play has slipped since. He joins a cornerback corps that features two key holdovers (Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Brown) and two key rookies (Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis), as well as veteran addition Nolan Carroll, who was burned too often last year with the Eagles.
Giants: Geno survives cut day
Onetime Jets starter Geno Smith was able to hold off Josh Johnson for the No. 2 spot behind Eli Manning despite an uneven preseason. Coach Bob McAdoo said the decision was "a close call," per the team's official website. The Giants will hope Smith isn't needed on the field at all this year in his role backing up Manning, who has started every single game for the Giants over the last 12 seasons.
Eagles: All five running backs survive cuts
The most scrutinized position battle this summer in Philadelphia was at running back, where newcomer LeGarrette Blount didn't do much to stand out, Wendell Smallwood dealt with injury and rookies Donnel Pumphrey and Corey Clement fought to make the team. Instead of choosing between those backs, the Eagles decided to take them all through the deadline, spending a whopping five roster spots on the position including Darren Sproles. With five RBs, the team has chosen to carry just eight offensive linemen, so if they deal with any injuries up front, one or more of these backs could be on the chopping block.
Redskins: Jones squeezed off roster
Last year the Redskins called upon Matt Jones to start the first seven games of the season, but fumbling issues eventually got him deactivated for the remainder of the year and ultimately booted off the roster during the final round of cuts Saturday. The Redskins move forward with a diverse pair of backups behind Rob Kelley in rookie Samaje Perine and pass-catching weapon Chris Thompson, while special teamer Mack Brown sticks around as the team's fourth back.
Bears: Keeping five receivers after Meredith injury
The Bears lost No. 1 receiver Cameron Meredith to injury during the preseason, leaving targets completely up in the air whenever they decide not to hand the ball off to Jordan Howard. Former top-ten pick Kevin White figures to be the new No. 1 in the offense if he can stay healthy, while Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright offer some level of experience behind him. The Bears decided to use their final two spots on two players without much of a resume: Josh Bellamy and Deonte Thompson. That left no room for free-agent acquisition Victor Cruz, who was cut Friday.
Lions: Williams can't crack linebacker depth chart
Antione Williams at one point this offseason looked like he would start on the strong side for the Lions; instead, the 2015 fifth-round pick is out of a job. Williams saw extensive work in the team's final preseason game and apparently was unable to do enough to keep his roster spot. Paul Worrilow will likely be the team's starter alongside Tahir Whitehead and rookie Jarrad Davis, while the linebacker depth chart will be rounded out by Nick Bellore, Steve Longa and rookie Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
Packers: Keep all three rookie running backs
The Packers didn't have much on the roster at running back heading into this year's draft, so they spent three Day 3 picks on the position, taking Jamaal Williams in the fourth round, Aaron Jones in the fifth and Devante Mays in the seventh. Fast forward to Saturday and all three guys have cracked the opening roster. While Williams figures to have the biggest role of the three behind Ty Montgomery, he managed just 61 yards on 25 carries during the preseason, and Mays struggled as well. Jones on the other hand racked up 105 yards on his 19 carries. Now all three will take their battle into the regular season.
Vikings: Cut presumed starting guard Boone
Last offseason Alex Boone signed a four-year, $27 million deal with the Vikings. This year they decided to move on without him. After the guard reportedly refused to take a paycut, the team made him part of their final cuts on Saturday. Boone ranked 44th out of 77 qualified guards last season, per Pro Football Focus, and his play this preseason wasn't enough to keep his job. With Boone gone, the Vikings look to be rolling with Nick Easton at left guard next to rookie center Pat Elflein.
Falcons: Ankle injury doesn't cost Hill roster spot
The Falcons have one of the top RB tandems in the league in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, so it'd be perfectly understandable if they decided to just keep one other running back and go deeper at other positions with less talent on the top. Rookie Brian Hill left them an out when he suffered an ankle injury in the team's third preseason game and missed the finale, but rather than stash him on IR, the Falcons decided to carry four running backs on their initial roster. Hill will likely open behind Terron Ward, but if he proves healthy and can flash during his time on the field, Ward could soon be squeezed off the roster.
Panthers: Both kickers make roster
The Panthers hosted a kicking battle during camp, with rookie Harrison Butker challenging veteran Graham Gano. Considering the fact that Carolina spent a draft pick on Butker and Gano's salary, it seemed like the longtime Panthers kicker could be a victim on cutday. Instead, the Panthers chose to keep both kickers around and carry just one backup safety. We'll see how long they stick to their two-kicker setup.
Saints: 2015 first-rounder survives chopping block
After Stephone Anthony put together a quality season as a rookie first-round pick in 2015, there seemed next to no chance the Saints would part ways with him before his initial contract was up. However, that looked like a distinct possibility this preseason after the linebacker landed in the dog house last year. After dealing with a high ankle sprain for much of August, Anthony seemed like even more of a long shot to make the final roster, but he was able to survive as one of the team's six linebackers. With the team surprisingly keeping five running backs as well, that left them a bit shorthanded at receiver, with only four players in tow while Willie Snead serves his suspension. More moves could be coming to bolster that unit soon.
Buccaneers: Reedy finally breaks through as potential returner
Bernard Reedy has been floating around training camps since being an undrafted free agent in 2014. This year for the first time, he looks like he'll have the chance to appear in an NFL game after the Buccaneers surprisingly saved him from their final round of cuts. Reedy put together a strong preseason, catching eight passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. The small receiver could make his biggest impact in the return game while seeing limited action on offense.
Cardinals: Fourth-round rookie fails to make team
The Cardinals appeared to get a steal in the fourth round when Pittsburgh guard Dorian Johnson fell due to medical concerns. Instead, Johnson was unable to make the initial 53-man roster, with the Cardinals risking losing him on waivers. The team will roll with fifth-round rookie Will Holden, Daniel Munyer and Ullrick John along with key reserve John Wetzel behind their starting five up front. Johnson figures to be an automatic practice-squad keeper if he can make it through waivers.
Rams: Carrier joins McVay in L.A., costing Harkey a spot
Several trades went down on Saturday, and while the deal struck between the Rams and Redskins bringing Derek Carrier to Los Angeles will go down as a minor one, it does bring a guy with experience in Sean McVay's offense into the fold at a position group loaded with inexperienced youth. Look for Carrier to fill a blocking role while second-year tight end Tyler Higbee and rookie Gerald Everett try to emerge as McVay's new Jordan Reed. The Carrier trade also spelled the end for Cory Harkey with the Rams after five seasons with the franchise.
49ers: Rookie Taylor makes Kerley expendable
The 49ers made a lot of changes to personnel with the instillation of a new regime in Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch this offseason. They finished clearing the decks at receiver on Saturday, jettisoning 2016 leading receiver Jeremy Kerley after the veteran was expected to fill the slot role in the offense in 2017. However, as Lynch explained on Saturday, the immediate emergence of fifth-round rookie Trent Taylor in the slot basically sealed Kerley's fate. Taylor, who could also serve as the team's punt returner to open the season, joins UDFA running back Matt Breida, No. 2 quarterback C.J. Beathard and tight end George Kittle as unheralded rookies who could wind up playing key roles in 2017.
Seahawks: Trades the name of the game in Seattle
When it came to settling on a final 53-man roster, the Seahawks found plenty of value in calling up other teams and working out a trade. The team executed five trades on Friday and Saturday while shuffling their roster, with the biggest move being their acquisition of defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson from the Jets in exchange for Jermaine Kearse, a second-round pick and a swap of seventh-round picks. The Seahawks also acquired cornerback Justin Coleman from the Patriots and offensive lineman Isiah Battle from the Chiefs while trading defensive end Cassius Marsh to the Patriots (in a separate deal from Friday's Coleman move) and cornerback Tramaine Brock to the Vikings. As for their cuts, notable names included Ahtyba Rubin, Pierre Desir and Trevone Boykin.