Saturday’s NFL: Teams sending QBs packing in final cuts despite pandemic

Detroit News

The theory that NFL teams would go with three quarterbacks to start the pandemic-impacted season took a hit Saturday.

Lots of third-stringers were sent packing as the 32 teams got down to the 53-man limit. The season opens Thursday night with Houston at Super Bowl champion Kansas City.

Perhaps most noteworthy was Miami releasing Josh Rosen, a first-round selection by Arizona in 2018 who was dealt to the Dolphins last year after the Cardinals took Kyler Murray with the top overall selection. Rosen was behind veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and first-rounder Tua Tagovailoa on the depth chart.

“The most important thing is to kind of move forward and not look back,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. “You don’t hit on every play, on every trade, on every draft pick. Show me a team that has hit on every one. I’ll applaud that team.”

Miami also traded for versatile rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. It also got a sixth-round draft pick from the Raiders for a fourth-round choice. Bowden can play running back or receiver, and also played quarterback at Kentucky.

Alex Smith made Washington’s 53-man roster, another significant step in his remarkable comeback 22 months since severely breaking his right leg and then having medical complications. Coach Ron Rivera said there’s no plan to put Smith on injured reserve in the coming days. Smith might even be Dwayne Haskins’ backup in the season opener Sept. 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Other quarterbacks released were veteran Mike Glennon and Josh Dobbs of the Jaguars, David Blough of the Lions, who lost all five of his starts subbing for the injured Matthew Stafford in 2019; Paxton Lynch of the Steelers; Cooper Rush and Alex Tanney of the Giants; Kurt Benkert and Kyle Lauletta of the Falcons; Chad Kelly of the Colts; and David Fales and Mike White of the Jets, who said veteran Joe Flacco passed his physical after neck surgery.

Making the Giants was Mr. Irrelevant. Georgia linebacker Tae Crowder, the final player taken in April’s draft, is on the roster. Miami kept Malcolm Perry, a star QB at Navy and now a wideout.

One NFL star quarterback got much richer. The Texans and Deshaun Watson reached agreement on a four-year, $160 million contract that ranks only behind the 10-year, $503 million deal for Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. Coincidentally, those two will face off in the season opener on Thursday night.

“As a child growing up in Georgia, it was always my dream to play in the NFL,” Watson wrote on social media. “Today, I couldn’t be more honored and humbled to sign a long-term deal in Houston, the city that I’ve grown to love so much and now call my home.”

“I promise to do everything I can to not only bring a championship to this great city but also leave a legacy of helping positively impact this community,” he wrote in the post. “Now back to the work …”

The Chargers’ Keenan Allen received a four-year deal that will make him the league’s second-highest paid receiver in average money. He will get $80.1 million with $50 million guaranteed.

“Want to thank the organization … (general manager) Tom Telesco especially for giving me a opportunity! Super juiced about this,” Allen said on his Instagram account.

The Chargers also waived Trent Scott, who started nine games at tackle last season.

Pittsburgh cut longtime defensive tackle Dan McCullers. A sixth-round pick in 2014, the massive McCullers (6-foot-7, 352 pounds), carved out a niche as a backup but struggled to get into the regular defensive line rotation.

The Cowboys released two veterans who played all 16 games last season, linebacker Justin March and cornerback C.J. Goodwin. March and Goodwin mostly played on special teams but saw some action on defense because of injuries.

Raiders release safety Damarious Randall: The Las Vegas Raiders have released safety Damarious Randall.

The team announced the move Friday, one day before rosters need to be cut to 53 players.

Randall is the second veteran signed in the offseason as a free agent to bolster the secondary who was released by Las Vegas this week. The Raiders also cut cornerback Prince Amukamara.

The move with Randall likely signals that the Raiders will use Erik Harris and Jeff Heath as the main free safeties alongside strong safety Johnathan Abram.

Randall is a former first-round pick by Green Bay in 2015. He has 14 interceptions and 47 passes defensed in 65 career games with the Packers and Cleveland.

Bills cut Andre Roberts with plans to re-sign himThe Buffalo Bills’ decision to retool their group of receivers for a second consecutive offseason led to the team cutting three returning players, including veteran Andre Roberts on Saturday.

Roberts, however, isn’t expected to be leaving Buffalo. A person familiar with discussions told The Associated Press the Bills plan to re-sign Roberts as well as backup safety Dean Marlowe, who was also cut. The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because those plans haven’t been publicly released.

Former CFL star Duke Williams and Robert Foster were two other receivers among the 24 players the Bills cut in establishing their 53-player roster.

Veteran defensive end Trent Murphy, meanwhile, isn’t going anywhere after speculation he might be the odd man out because of salary-cap concerns. Murphy, who has combined for nine sacks in two seasons in Buffalo, is entering the third and final year of his contact and due to make a base salary of $6.1 million.

Buffalo opens the season hosting the New York Jets on Sept. 13.

Browns trim roster, 2018 picks Thomas, Ratley among cuts: Cleveland made 24 cuts on Saturday to get to the league’s mandated 53-man limit, releasing a few notable names, including defensive end Chad Thomas and Damion Ratley, draft picks in 2018, and running back Dontrell Hilliard, who handled return duties last season.

Interestingly, Stefanski is going with just two quarterbacks – starter Baker Mayfield and backup Case Keenum – out of the gate. Third-stringer Garrett Gilbert, who has been close friends with Mayfield for years, was cut but could be added to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Also, Stefanski, who preferred using sets with multiple tight ends as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator last season, kept five at that position.

Stefanski is bringing back 33 players from last year’s Browns team, which didn’t play up to enormous preseason hype and finished 6-10. The other 20 players came aboard in free agency (11), the 2020 draft (6), two by trades and one via waivers.

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