Mike Florio and Michael David Smith make their weekly picks of NFL winners and losers. Will MDS correctly guess the score to the Raiders game for a third week in a row? Will there be much to watch when the Panthers take on the Chiefs? Who will take the rematch as the Saints head to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Thursday night?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Week 13 picks: Rematch in Atlanta
The Panthers’ offensive line has gone several changes in the offseason due to retirement. On Saturday, the Panthers opted to make a change via termination of employment.
Per a league source, guard Chris Scott has been released.
In 2013, his first year with the team, Scott appeared in 10 regular-season games, with eight starts. Rookie Trai Turner is expected to start at right guard for the Panthers in 2014.
Scott has four years of service, so he’ll instantly become a free agent.
The Browns didn’t do nearly enough to fix the wide receiver position this offseason, knowing Josh Gordon would be suspended.
But it seemed that bringing in Nate Burleson was a wise move, to lend some ballast to a young group.
But the Browns apparently thought they didn’t need him, as Burleson was cut this morning, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
An early surprise on 53 day comes from the land of 9,947 more lakes than that.
The Vikings have parted ways with veteran defensive lineman Fred Evans, per a league source.
Evans has served as a key member of the team’s defensive tackle rotation since 2007. In 2013, he appeared in 14 games with three starts.
His departure should be regarded as good news in one respect. If Linval Joseph wasn’t expected to be ready to return from getting shot in the leg after a preseason game, Evans probably wouldn’t have been cut.
The Giants’ march to 53 includes a veteran defensive lineman who possibly is reaching the end of an intriguing road in professional football.
Per a league source, veteran defensive lineman Israel Idonije has been cut by the Giants.
He played at the University of Manitoba and wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine. So he showed up on his own, handing out tapes of his performances from a brown paper bag.
It didn’t work on draft day, but Idonije got an initial shot with the Browns before finding a nine-year home with the Bears. Following the 2012 season, Idonije signed with the Lions for 2013. He then re-joined the Bears earlier this year, but he was cut in June.
Idonije landed with the Giants in early August, but the Giants have moved on. Idonije instantly becomes a free agent, able to sign with any team. If he has the same relentlessness that earned him a spot in the NFL in the first place, Idonije may not be done yet.
Washington has reportedly made a decision in its kicker competition.
In other Washington personnel news, undrafted rookie tailback Silas Redd is set to make the 53-player roster, Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington reported. The former USC and Penn State running back led Washington in rushing yards (157) and carries (34) in the preseason.
While Washington will keep Redd, it will be releasing second-year tailback Chris Thompson, Lake Lewis Jr. of SportsJourney.com reported. A Florida State product, Thompson was a fifth-round pick in 2013.
The Giants are working (slowly, painfully) on a new offense.
And they’re only going to keep two quarterbacks to run it.
The Ravens are reportedly releasing a veteran interior lineman with quite a bit of recent starting experience.
The club is parting ways with offensive guard A.Q. Shipley, Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported Saturday. A nine-game starter for Baltimore a season ago, the 28-year-old Shipley could appeal to clubs looking for veteran line help.
Jensen and Wenning have practice squad eligibility should they clear waivers. So would rookie tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is also being waived by the Ravens, according to the Sun.
Some call it cutdown day, referring to the fact that up to 22 players from each team will be bounced by 4:00 p.m. ET. But why not celebrate the guys who made it?
So, at least for now (as in, until I press “publish” on this post), I’ll call it “53 day.” Welcome to it.
We’ll be keeping up as best we can with the dizzying array of roster moves. Here’s how it will work.
The latest breaking news that flows into PFT headquarters will be posted on our Twitter page. We’ll post the information here immediately thereafter, and we’ll eventually (hopefully sooner than later) add the information to the official PFT roster tracker.
One last point — before any of the bubble players pops the bubbly, keep in mind that the aftershock from the flood of available players will prompt more roster moves and potentially claim the spot of a player who had made it.
Flacco, the younger brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, will be released by the Chargers, per a league source. Mike, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in May, had put together a solid preseason. He lost out in a numbers game.
“This is a great place to learn how to play tight end,” Flacco recently said, via ESPN.com. “Unfortunately, there’s some good tight ends in front of me on the depth chart. But between the coaching and guys in front of you to watch, it’s a great place to learn.”
The 27-year-old rookie will now hit the waiver wire, and maybe another team with serious needs at tight end about which I just wrote a few minutes ago (scroll or look down) will be interested.
It’s still unclear who’ll emerge as the top tight end for the Giants this year. It’s becoming more clear who won’t.
Kellen Davis is the latest to be release, joining Dickensian antagonist Xavier Grimble as former Giants tight ends. Davis had three catches for 12 yards in five preseason games. He previously has played for the Bears from 2008 through 2012 before winning a Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks in 2013.
Presumably, G.M. Jerry Reese and company will be watching the wire today for potential upgrades at the position, given that the three remaining players have scant NFL experience.
Running back Dion Lewis emerged from Pitt in 2011, joining another former Pitt tailback (LeSean McCoy) on the roster of the Steelers. But for Lewis, a fifth-round draft pick, the NFL thing hasn’t gone nearly as well.
Traded for the Browns for linebacker Emmanuel Acho after two seasons, 24 regular-season games, and 171 total rushing yards, Lewis broke a leg last summer, missing all of 2013. He returned to the team determined to make a dent in the depth chart.
Per a league source, it didn’t happen. Lewis has been cut by the Browns.
He’s got fewer than four years of service, so he’ll hit the waiver wire before becoming a free agent.
The Texans have decided to rely on their defensive-line depth elsewhere. Per a league source, Mathews has been released.
Mathews appeared in 16 regular-season games each of the last two years, with six starts. Because he has four years of service, Mathews instantly becomes a free agent.
PFT also has confirmed that the Texans have released linebacker Chris McAllister. Undrafted out of Baylor, McAllister joined the Texans in May. He’ll first be exposed to waivers, and then he’ll be eligible to sign with any team or practice squad.
The Eagles have lost some linebacker depth as Travis Long has been lost for the season.
Long, who spent last year on Philadelphia’s practice squad and was expected to make the 53-man roster this year, suffered a torn ACL in Thursday’s preseason finale, according to Philly.com. Long’s injury came on the series after he sacked Jets quarterback Tajh Boyd.
The injury is to Long’s left ACL. He tore his right ACL in 2012 during his senior season at Washington State, which is one of the reasons he went undrafted last year. But the Eagles thought he was coming along well after signing as an undrafted free agent and had high hopes that he’d be a contributor this year.
Although Long was not projected to start this year, he was versatile enough to play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end and multiple special teams positions, and he’ll be tough to replace.
The Buccaneers’ offensive line has been a major question mark all year, and when the season opens next weekend the line will feature a bunch of guys who have never played together as a unit. And coach Lovie Smith says that’s just fine because, according to Smith, chemistry among offensive linemen is overrated.
“It’s been talked an awful lot about “the offensive line, they have to play together’’,’’ Smith said, via ESPN. “I don’t buy that at all. I think you get the best possible guys you can, and you make moves when you have to.’’
Smith said new arrival Logan Mankins can fit right in without having practiced with his teammates
“He knows how to get himself ready,” Smith said of Mankins. “He’ll have to change a little bit of terminology but not as much as you would assume. He’ll fit in right away and I don’t think that will be a big issue. Some of our other offensive linemen haven’t played a lot together. But these three preseason games, they’ve come together. Based on the way they played the last time they were together [in the third preseason game], we like where we’re at.”
At the moment, the offensive line looks like the Bucs’ biggest weakness. If Smith is right, perhaps the offensive line can be a surprise strength of a team going in the right direction.
Another recent Texans draft pick has been sent packing.
Cornerback Brandon Harris, a 2011 second-round draft pick, was cut by the Texans today, according to James Palmer of CSN Houston.
Bad draft picks have plagued the Texans in recent years, and Harris is a prime example: When you draft a player in the second round, you expect him to be a starter. Harris is released having never started a game in Houston.
Harris, who played his college football at the University of Miami, is a talented enough athlete that some team may decide to give him a second chance in the NFL. But his first chance, in Houston, has ended as a major disappointment.