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NFL

NFL Cut Day 2022: Who are some of the biggest names that were cut, waived or released?

One of the busiest days in the NFL for players and staff came on Tuesday when the teams cut their rosters down to 53, some of them making some big moves.

Update:
One of the busiest days in the NFL for players and staff came on Tuesday when the teams cut their rosters down to 53, some of them making some big moves.
Ethan MillerAFP

The preseason has ended and the cuts have been made. It can be a ruthless day in the NFL when roster cuts have to be done, but it is part of it. Not only do we see players being waived and moved around, but we also see some big trade moves happening on roster cut day. One of those was particularly notable and shocking. Even though we know by now that these teams are still far from “final,” here are some of the biggest moves from the 2022 NFL roster cut day.

The Saints traded Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to the Eagles

The Saints just traded away one of their best defensive players for basically nothing. I’m still baffled trying to understand this trade. He was the Saints’ fourth-round pick in 2019 and was heading into the final season of his rookie contract, and it seems they were getting anxious to get something for him. So, they traded him to Philadelphia. The Eagles got one of the best DBs in the league and a 2025 seventh-round pick and in return, the Saints got a 2023 fifth-round pick and 2024 sixth-round pick. The Saints could have kept C.J. in New Orleans at least one season longer without having to pay him the big bucks he’s clearly worth, but they chose to trade him away early, for much less than what they could have if they’d waited.

Ahh, such a satisfying moment.

Jimmy Garoppolo stays with the 49ers

This was less of a move, and more of a stay. Although the 49ers stated that Trey Lance would be their starting quarterback long ago, coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch restructured Jimmy G’s contract to stay with the team until 2022 and will leave at the end of the season. He was never traded away, likely because of his 2022 $24.2 million base salary and offseason shoulder surgery. The restructured contract includes a no-trade and no-tag clause, meaning that if he were to be traded, he would have to be included in the talks and agree to the trade himself. The new deal, worth $6.5 million guaranteed, will make Jimmy G the backup to Lance.

The Bills cut O.J. Howard and Duke Johnson

The Bills signed tight end O.J. Howard back in March. Howard had been dealing with injuries for a long time and his signing with the Bills looked like a fresh start for him. But he didn’t make the cut. That decision cost manager Brandon Beane $3.195 million, but I guess they just didn’t see his potential. It’s possible the Bengals do, though. With the release of running back Duke Johnson, it looks like James Cook will be seeing a lot more of the work along with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss.

The Chiefs released Josh Gordon

After Tyreek Hill left Kansas City to become a part of the Miami Dolphins team, the Chiefs made it a priority to rebuild their wide receiver depth chart. Apparently Gordon just didn’t cut it (literally). In 2021, he caught just five passes for 32 yards and one touchdown, failing to make a big impact on the team, which included play-makers like JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Raiders cut 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood

The Las Vegas Raiders’ 2021 first-round draft pick just didn’t work out how they’d hoped it would. Offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood struggled in his rookie season and after failing to find someone to trade for him, the Raiders waived him on Tuesday.

Patriots release Malcolm Butler with injury settlement

Cornerback Malcolm Butler retired for a minute and then re-signed with New England on a two-year deal worth up to $9 million in March. That took a turn pretty quick when he was placed on Injured Reserve on August 16. Butler played for the Patriots from 2014-17 and was their top corner for most of that tenure, playing in two Super Bowl victories with the team. Two days before the roster cuts had to be finalized, the Patriots released him on an injury settlement.

Colts release Philip Lindsay after just 3 months

Running back Phillip Lindsay signed a contract with the Colts back in May, but they’ve now parted ways. With the Broncos, Lindsay had back-to-back 1,000+ yard rushing seasons, but an injury-riddled 2020 season saw the Broncos release him. He moved on to the Texans, but was released in November. Since the injury, he just hasn’t been the same explosive back he once was, and that’s what the NFL needs and what the Colts were looking for.

Dolphins cut Sony Michel

Michel shouldn’t have too much to worry about as a free agent, as his track record is pretty good. He went to the Super Bowl with the Patriots in his rookie season in 2018 and played well replacing Cam Akers for the Rams last year. But the Dolphins’ RB chart is full of veterans, and he just didn’t make enough of an impression.

See, things are looking up for him already.

Eagles cut safety Anthony Harris

Safety Anthony Harris started 15 games for the Eagles last season and had 72 tackles and an interception in the regular season and 13 tackles in their one playoff game. He had a great year in coverage, but the Eagles now have Gardner-Johnson heading their way, which perhaps made this decision a bit easier. With Chauncey handling some of the duties at safety and Marcus Epps and Andre Chachere among others still on the roster, Harris got the boot.

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