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20 takeaways from 2023 NFL roster cuts: Bears, Patriots rolling dice at QB; Jonathan Taylor saga continues


All 32 NFL teams trimmed their 90-man offseason rosters to 53 players on Tuesday, and as expected, some drama ensued. A certain big-name running back learned his immediate fate, several backup quarterback situations were upended, and the reigning NFC champion Eagles landed more depth in a trade with Sean Payton’s Broncos.

As the dust settles on final cuts and teams work to tweak their lineups ahead of the 2023 season, here are 32 takeaways from Tuesday’s big wave of transactions:

After briefly allowing the disgruntled star running back to seek a trade, the Colts are keeping the Pro Bowler … on the sidelines. Rather than activate Taylor, who’s yet to practice while returning from ankle surgery, they are leaving him on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the year, which means a minimum of a four-game absence. Get ready for a full-blown RB committee. And possibly another push from Taylor’s camp to be dealt ahead of the in-season Oct. 31 deadline.

2. The Cardinals may or may not be trying to win

It’s a disservice to players on Arizona’s roster to suggest the team would actively attempt to lose games in 2023. But after cutting veteran backup Colt McCoy, they’re set to enter the year with Kyler Murray on PUP (out at least four games) and either rookie Clayton Tune or new reserve Joshua Dobbs, who arrived via trade days ago, under center. It’s no wonder Super Bowl champs like Bill Cowher and Phil Simms think the Cards are already looking at the 2024 draft.

3. Trader Howie is at it again

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has occasionally struck gold bolstering depth with low-risk, high-upside swings, and he added two intriguing projects in ex-Colts corner Isaiah Rodgers, a splashy return man who’s suspended for 2023 due to gambling, and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, the former big-bodied Broncos pass catcher — a couple of forward-thinking flyers.

4. The Bears are rolling the dice at QB2

After cutting both Nathan Peterman and P.J. Walker, who got $2 million guaranteed to back up Justin Fields in the spring, Chicago is tentatively rolling with only Tyson Bagent, an undrafted rookie out of Division II Shepherd, as Fields’ insurance at QB.

5. So are the Bills

Veteran No. 2 Matt Barkley is headed to injured reserve with an elbow injury, sidelining him for at least four games, which leaves only Kyle Allen, the ex-Washington and Texans backup, behind Josh Allen on Buffalo’s QB depth chart.

This isn’t in relation to anything Miami did Tuesday, but rather what they didn’t do all offseason. Tua Tagovailoa’s new No. 2, ex-Jets reserve Mike White, is fresh off a concussion and uneven summer. And the only other QB on their roster is 2022 seventh-rounder Skylar Thompson. For a team with deep-playoff aspirations, there remains a ton of pressure on Tua to stay upright.

7. Mac Jones is getting a new backup

New England saw the Bills and Dolphins settle for shoddy backup QB spots and decided to one-up them by carrying zero backups on their initial 53, cutting not only spicy undrafted rookie Malik Cunningham but, in a surprise, 2022 fill-in Bailey Zappe. Another veteran should soon be added. The biggest names available: Colt McCoy, Carson Wentz and new CBS analyst Matt Ryan.

8. The Panthers finally got more help at WR

A project, that is, but at least it’s something. Taking advantage of the Chiefs‘ surprisingly deep rotation of reserve wideouts, Carolina acquired speedster Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who went off downfield in the preseason, for a swap of late picks. Solid low-risk bet.

Speaking of young wideouts, the former Eagles first-rounder drew trade interest ahead of the cutdown, only to stick on Minnesota’s roster despite a strong push in a crowded group behind Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and K.J. Osborn. Reagor remains just a secondary piece, but he had a solid summer alongside newcomer Brandon Powell.

10. Chris Jones‘ holdout is getting real

Unlike Jonathan Taylor in Indy, Jones isn’t hurt. But he’s already threatened to hold out for half the season while seeking a pay raise in a contract year. Widely considered one of the top defensive linemen in the game, the All-Pro was officially placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list, meaning he’s set to enter the regular season ineligible to suit up for the Chiefs.

The soon-to-be 37-year-old tight end hasn’t played an NFL game in two years, but he played his way onto the Saints‘ 53-man roster with a strong preseason finale catching jump balls from Jameis Winston. Party like it’s the early 2010s again.

12. It’s DTR time in Cleveland

Rookie fifth-rounder Dorian Thompson-Robinson was one of the most impressive performers of the preseason, flashing legit dual-threat abilities in extensive action. With Joshua Dobbs since traded to the Cardinals and former Vikings prospect Kellen Mond also cut loose, he’ll march toward Week 1 as Deshaun Watson’s top backup QB.

13. The Lions are getting a secondary boost

Detroit made plenty of headlines for upgrading its defensive backfield this offseason, but now one of its top veteran additions, former 49ers corner Emmanuel Moseley, is eligible to play, coming off PUP after missing the summer due to ACL rehab.

14. Kicker trades are hot right now

Rather than wait around for veterans to hit the market, NFL teams got proactive for special teams help, with the Broncos (Wil Lutz), Browns (Dustin Hopkins) and Titans (Nick Folk) all acquiring new kickers via trade. The Patriots and Saints will now enter 2023 with rookies at the position, while veteran Brett Maher was a casualty of Denver’s latest shakeup.

15. Von Miller will be slow-played in 2023

The star pass rusher, whose big-money Bills debut was cut short due to injury, will open the year on PUP, guaranteeing at least a four-game absence. As Will Brinson notes, the plan was probably always to lessen his workload until later in the season.

The ex-Vikings star finally hit the practice field after returning from shoulder surgery recently, and New York signaled that he’ll be ready for Week 1 action by cutting reserve Zonovan Knight, who totaled 400 yards as a rookie fill-in in 2022.

17. Jerry Jeudy may also be good to go

The Broncos wideout recently suffered a hamstring injury, and while it could still cost him Denver’s opener and perhaps an additional game, GM George Paton indicated Jeudy won’t open 2023 on IR, which would guarantee at least four missed games.

18. Kareem Hunt could soon have a new team

One of the top RBs who remains unsigned, Hunt visited the Saints and Colts this offseason, and now that Indy will be without Jonathan Taylor for the start of the year, rumors are swirling that the former Browns change-of-pace back could be brought in.

The Dolphins defensive lineman has failed to strike a long-term deal with Miami, but even as teams inquired about his trade availability Tuesday, the club rejected such offers, per ESPN. And get this: so did Wilkins, who’s still set to play in 2023.

20. Joe Burrow is probably starting in Week 1

Rather than lock up extra QB insurance, the Bengals cut two of their backups in Trevor Siemian and Reid Sinnett, leaving only Jake Browning on the depth chart behind Burrow. It’s a good sign that the MVP candidate will be ready to go after sitting out weeks of camp with a calf injury.





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