NFL teams have some tough decisions to make and even tougher messages to deliver to many players in the coming hours.
By 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, all 32 franchises must cut their rosters from a maximum of 90 to 53. Some teams have already begun trimming, with a trickle of announcements coming out after teams completed their final preseason games in the last few days. Teams also use this deadline to swing trades, with the Dallas Cowboys’ move to acquire quarterback Trey Lance standing out among the several deals already completed. Could more be on the way?
Check back with USA TODAY Sports throughout the day for all the news on the notable players being released or moved ahead of Tuesday’s deadline:
Texans continue defensive overhaul
After news broke that the Texans planned to release linebacker Christian Kirksey, the team continued to move on from key contributors.
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Defensive back Desmond King is being released and defensive tackle Roy Lopez is being waived with an injury designation, according to multiple reports.
King started 25 games in two years with the Texans and recorded five interceptions during that span. His release clears the way for Tavierre Thomas to be the starter at nickel.
Lopez started 29 games in his two seasons with the Texans but was expected to be a backup behind Sheldon Rankins and Maliek Collins this season.
Texans cutting one of last year’s starters
The Houston Texans continue to reshape their roster to launch the DeMeco Ryans era.
The team is releasing linebacker Christian Kirksey, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Monday.
Kirksey started all 17 games for the Texans last season as well as 12 games in 2021. He finished third on the team in tackles with 124 while also recording three sacks and two interceptions.
With Ryans taking over, however, Kirksey was behind Blake Cashman at strongside linebacker.
Cardinals shaking up QB outlook
The Arizona Cardinals took a couple of significant steps toward establishing a quarterback plan for the start of this season.
Kyler Murray will not be activated from the physically unable to perform list by Tuesday afternoon’s deadline and thus will miss at least the first four games of the season, according to multiple reports. Meanwhile, the team also released veteran signal-caller Colt McCoy.
Those moves would ostensibly position Josh Dobbs as the front-runner to start for the Cardinals in Week 1 against the Washington Commanders. Dobbs was acquired from the Cleveland Browns in a trade last week. In Arizona, he will be reunited with offensive coordinator Drew Petzing, who served as the Browns’ quarterback coach last year.
Jets release running back
Dalvin Cook’s arrival in New York assured a further shake-up in the backfield.
The Jets are releasing running back Zonovan “Bam” Knight, according to multiple reports.
Knight made four starts last year as an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina State, logging 85 carries for 300 yards and one touchdown. But with Breece Hall activated from the physically unable to perform list, Israel Abanikanda selected in the fifth round out of Pitt and Cook signed earlier this month, Knight became expendable for New York.
Kicker trade! Chargers send Dustin Hopkins to Browns
The Los Angeles Chargers have settled their kicker competition and created clarity for another.
The Chargers are trading kicker Dustin Hopkins to the Cleveland Browns for a 2025 seventh-round pick, according to multiple reports Monday, indicating that second-year pro Cameron Dicker has won out in Los Angeles. In a corresponding move, the Browns also plan to cut incumbent kicker Cade York, who was a fourth-round draft pick just last year.
Dicker took over when Hopkins was placed on injured reserve midway through last season, and he converted 21 of 22 field goal attempts for the Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles.
York struggled throughout training camp and the preseason, hitting just 4 of 8 field goal attempts. Coach Kevin Stefanski was noncommital after Saturday’s preseason finale when asked about York’s future with the team.
Packers cut veteran punter Pat O’Donnell
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers are apparently choosing the big leg of first-year pro Daniel Whelan over the steady foot and excellent hands of veteran Pat O’Donnell in choosing their punter this season.
The Packers announced Monday that they released O’Donnell.
Over the course of training camp, Whelan consistently boomed punts, often with hang times of 4.5 seconds and higher, without having any bad shanks or mishits. O’Donnell was his usual consistent self, but the Packers apparently want to do better than his 28th ranking in gross average and 30th in net average last year.
The Packers will gain $1.25 million in salary cap space by releasing O’Donnell, who was in the final year of a two-year, $4 million contract. – Tom Silverstein, PackersNews
Minnesota Vikings’ roster cuts include two XFL standouts
The Minnesota Vikings made several roster cuts on Monday, including former XFL standouts QB Jordan Ta’amu and RB Abram Smith.
Ta’amu threw for 14 touchdowns and three interceptions for the runner-up DC Defenders last season. Smith, who also played for the Defenders, led the league in rushing with 791 yards and seven touchdowns on 158 carries. Both were named to the 2023 All-XFL Team.
Could Derek Barnett trade be coming?
A notable pass rusher could be looking for a change of scenery.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett is “gauging the market for the potential to play more elsewhere,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote Monday.
Barnett, 27, is part of a deep Eagles pass-rush rotation led by Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham. The former first-round pick, who suffered a torn ACL in Philadelphia’s opener against the Detroit Lions last year, is entering the final year of his contract with a base salary of $3.5 million.
Monday NFL roster cuts start rolling in
There’s still more than 24 hours left until the NFL’s roster cut deadline, but several moves are already filtering through. Among the early Monday moves:
- The Buccaneers released DT Deadrin Senat, S Nolan Turner, G John Molchon and OT Michael Niese, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud.
- The Steelers released LB Tanner Muse, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
- The Colts plan to release former first-round WR Breshard Perriman, per multiple reports.
- The Commanders released WR Marcus Kemp, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Chicago Bears’ cuts include notable QB, OL
The Bears’ first batch of cuts only consisted of three players, but two names sparked some intrigue.
Chicago released quarterback P.J. Walker, who signed a two-year deal with the team in March after spending three years with the Carolina Panthers. Walker was initially seen as leading candidate to be Justin Fields’ backup, but that role now might fall to rookie Tyson Bagent, an undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd University who holds the NCAA record for career passing touchdowns (159). Bagent’s only other competition remaining is veteran Nathan Peterman.
The Bears also waived offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood, a 2021 first-round draft pick of the Las Vegas Raiders whom Chicago claimed off waivers last August. Leatherwood played in just four games for the Bears, and the Bears will incur a nearly $4.6 million dead-cap hit for the money he is still owed.
Pittsburgh Steelers trade OL Kevin Dotson to Los Angeles Rams
Two teams in the midst of rebuilding their offensive lines pulled off a deal with one another Sunday to further reshape their fronts.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sent offensive guard Kevin Dotson to the Los Angeles Rams as part of a pick swap. The Steelers will receive the Rams’ 2024 fourth-round pick and 2025 fifth-round pick, while Los Angeles will receive Pittsburgh’s 2024 fifth-round pick and 2025 sixth-round pick.
A fourth-round pick in 2020, Dotson started all 17 games for the Steelers at left guard this season, but the signing of Isaac Seumalo relegated him to a backup role. In Los Angeles, he should provide additional depth for a front that is looking to provide more consistency and better protection for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford in his return to the lineup.
Denver Broncos’ cuts include Kendall Hinton
Could Kendall Hinton’s strange run with the Denver Broncos be at its end?
The wide receiver was among the Broncos’ first wave of cuts on Sunday. While he could return to the team as a practice-squad member, it’s unclear whether he will be claimed by another team – or if he’s a consideration for Denver at all at this point.
Hinton famously stepped in as the Broncos’ quarterback for one game in 2020 when all four of the team’s passers were sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols, with three of them violating rules on close contact. Last season, however, he aided a receiving corps riddled with injuries by playing in 58% of the team’s offensive snaps. He finished with 33 catches for 311 yards.
When are NFL final roster cuts due in 2023?
Teams must pare their rosters down to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Several teams have already announced their first wave of cuts, and more will filter through on Monday and Tuesday before the official lists come out.
However, the rosters are not exactly “final” by Tuesday afternoon. Teams have until noon on Wednesday to make claims on any players waived in the roster cutdown process. Of course, teams must make corresponding moves to keep their rosters at 53 when adding a player, which means that some players might be led to believe they’ve made the “final” cut only to learn a day later that they’re out.