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Dimitroff says Falcons still looking at tight end position

Falcons Training Camp Football AP

Tight end Tony Gonzalez was 95-percent certain to retire after the 2012 season.  And the long shot won the race.

So with Gonzalez coming back, are the Falcons not looking for tight end help in the draft?

“You don’t deviate from your plan when you go into the draft after bringing a guy back,” G.M. Thomas Dimitroff told NFL Network on Thursday. “We don’t know if we are going to have Tony Gonzalez past one year.”

The fact that Dimitroff sees Gonzalez possibly staying longer than one year is a bit surprising.  Then again, Gonzalez’s decision to return when he didn’t intend to means there’s a chance he’ll do it again.

“Our eyes are still on many positions in this draft and there is no question — this may be selling it out a little bit — but we continue to look at the tight end [position],” Dimitroff said.

That’s actually a smart approach, from one of the smartest General Managers in the league.  Keep it broad, leave all doors open, and keep everyone guessing.

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Stephen Hill’s agent disappointed in Ryan and Idzik, thinks Browns will be interested

Stephen Hill, Curtis Marsh AP

The Jets cut wide receiver Stephen Hill, a 2012 second-round pick, on Saturday and Hill’s agent Alan Herman was less than thrilled with the team’s decision.

Herman argued that the team’s quarterbacks and offensive schemes were to blame for his client’s struggles in his first two seasons. Hill had 45 catches and four touchdowns in 23 games for the Jets.

“He didn’t have a chance that first year with that whole Tim Tebow-Mark Sanchez fiasco,” Herman said, via USA Today. “His second year, Geno Smith was learning how to play quarterback. So they never threw the ball deep because they wanted to simplify things for Geno.”

No one will argue that the Jets have had good quarterback situations the last two years, but Hill’s hardly blameless. He had too many drops and too hard a time staying healthy to be a reliable part of any offense.

Hill’s big and fast, though, and that should land him other chances. Herman says he “would think” the Browns will be interested because of Josh Gordon’s suspension and head coach Mike Pettine’s previous relationship with Hill when both men were with the Jets. Herman also told Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer that he thinks Panthers wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl would have a positive impact on his client and much has been made this summer about the thin receiver depth chart in Carolina.

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Giants keep some young projects instead of veterans

Giants Jets Football AP

The Giants cut some big names, but kept some young players who fit their mold of finding talent in unusual places.

They were able to keep undrafted rookie wide receiver Corey Washington and defensive end Kerry Wynn, after explosive preseason performances.

Washington had 10 catches for 155 yards and four touchdowns (three game-winners), setting him up to be the Giants’ next Victor Cruz-level breakout star. Wynn had a pair of sacks, and replaced veteran Israel Idonije.

They’re great stories and that’s what this thing is all about,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said, via the team’s official website. “Your needs are much deeper than seven picks in the draft or sometimes you’re not in position to help yourself in free agency because of the cap, so this is still the source. And when a young guy comes along and they look like they’ve got a high end, you’re excited about it. Especially when they work hard, they study hard, it’s important to them and they have great desire. You can see it on some of these kids’ faces that this means so much to them, and quite frankly it re-energizes me.”

In addition to the previously reported cuts of veteran quarterback Curtis Painter, fullback John Conner, tight end Kellen Davis and Idonije and placing wide receivers Trindon Holliday and Mario Manningham on injured reserve, the Giants waived-injured tackle Rogers Gaines, placed guard Eric Herman and cornerback Jayron Hosley on reserve/suspended and waived tackle Mark Asper, running back Michael Cox, defensive back Chandler Fenner, linebacker Dan Fox, running back Kendall Gaskins, defensive back Thomas Gordon, tackle Adam Gress, defensive back Bennett Jackson, guard Jamaal Johnson-Webb, linebacker Terrell Manning, defensive tackle Kelcie Quarles, defensive end Jordan Stanton, wide receiver Julian Talley and cornerback Bennett Jackson.

Jackson, a sixth-rounder from Notre Dame, was their only 2014 draft pick released.

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Bears cut Kelvin Hayden, set initial 53-man roster

Kelvin Hayden, Larry Fitzgerald AP

Cornerback Kelvin Hayden re-signed with the Bears after missing the entire 2013 season with a hamstring injury, but he won’t get a chance to play for them in 2014 unless the team has a change of heart.

Hayden was one of the players let go by the Bears on Saturday as they set their initial 53-man roster. The 2005 Colts second-round pick played 16 games for the Bears in 2012 and was competing for a backup cornerback job in Chicago this season, but Sherrick McManis and Demontre Hurst remain on the roster.

The Bears also released safety M.D. Jennings with an injury settlement and released defensive end Austen Lane.

In addition to the previously reported cuts, the Bears also waived wide receiver Josh Bellamy, defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, defensive tackle Tracy Robertson and cornerback Al Louis-Jean.

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Dolphins put Mike Pouncey on active 53-man roster

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When Dolphins center Mike Pouncey needed offseason hip surgery, there was talk that he’d have to miss most of the season. But the Dolphins think he’ll be back soon.

The Dolphins released their roster cuts today, and the big news was that Pouncey wasn’t involved in any transactions. He is on the 53-man roster, rather than the physically unable to perform list. That means the Dolphins expect him to play at some point in the first six weeks of the season.

Players waived by the Dolphins on Saturday included DT Isaako Aaitui, G David Arkin, C Sam Brenner, WR Kevin Cone, G Evan Finkenburg, CB Kevin Fogg, S Jordan Kovacs, QB Seth Lobato, TE Kyle Miller, DE Tevin Mims, DE D’Aundre Reed, K Jake Rogers, DT Garrison Smith, LB Andrew Wilson and TE Evan Wilson. Rookie free agent Kamal Johnson was placed on injured reserve and veteran offensive lineman Tony Hills had his contract terminated.

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Texans make 22 roster moves, many more on the way

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The Texans made 22 cuts this weekend to get to the 53-man roster limit.

But since they hold the first spot in waiver-claim order and need plenty of help, they’ll likely make many more over the coming days and weeks.

Other than former second-rounder Brandon Harris, there weren’t many surprises among the lot.

The list of the released includes: Kicker Chris Boswell, tight end Zach Potter, safety Jawanza Starling, fullback Toben Opurum, wide receiver Travis Labhart, tackle Mike Farrell, outside linebacker Quentin Groves, wide receivers E.Z. Nwachukwu and Lacoltan Bester, guard Alex Kupper, center James Ferentz, tight end Anthony Denham, guard Bronson Irwin, tackle Matt Feiler, nose tackle Ricardo Mathews, inside linebackers Max Bullough and Chris Young, outside linebacker Chris McAllister, cornerback Marcus Williams and defensive ends Keith Browner and Julius Warmsley.

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Patriots release 19, but keep quarterback Ryan Mallett

Mallett Getty Images

The Patriots finished business with 19 cuts Saturday, but left the door open to future business by keeping quarterback Ryan Mallett.

Mallett slipped behind second-rounder Jimmy Garoppolo, and could still be trade bait down the road if a team has an injury early in the season. Otherwise, they’ll sit on the former third-rounder through the final year of his contract.

The Patriots released two of their draft picks, offensive lineman Jon Halapio and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon.

The Patriots also released long snapper Danny Aiken, linebacker Steve Beauharnais, defensive lineman Jake Bequette, wide receiver Josh Boyce, tight end Steve Maneri and defensive lineman Jerel Worthy, along with offensive lineman Braxston Cave, linebacker Ja’Gared Davis, safety Kanorris Davis, running back Jonas Gray, defensive Daxton Swanson, running back Roy Finch, safety Shamiel Gary, defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna, offensive lineman Chris Martin, linebacker Taylor McCuller and defensive lineman L.T. Tuipulotu, and placed linebacker James Morris on injured reserve.

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Jets cut Matt Simms, leaving Smith and Vick as only quarterbacks

Koa Misi, Matt Simms AP

The Jets waived sixth-round pick Tajh Boyd on Saturday, but that wasn’t the only quarterback shuffled off the roster.

The team announced that they have also waived Matt Simms, who spent last season as Geno Smith’s backup and relieved him during one poor performance. That leaves Michael Vick as the only other quarterback on the roster, although either Boyd or Simms could be back with the team on the practice squad.

The Jets placed third-round corner Dexter McDougle on injured reserve earlier and kept nine of their 11 other draft picks on Saturday. Boyd and sixth-round corner Brandon Dixon were the only draft picks waived by the team.

In addition to the previously announced cuts of Boyd, wide receiver Stephen Hill, cornerback Dimitri Patterson and others that can be found on our roster tracker, the Jets also waived guard Will Campbell, linebacker Troy Davis, defensive tackle Tevita Finau, wide receiver Clyde Gates, defensive lineman Kerry Hyder, linebacker Garrett McIntyre, safety Rontez Miles, tackle Brent Qvale, cornerback Jeremy Reeves and offensive lineman Caleb Schlauderaff. The Jets also moved linebacker Antwan Barnes to the regular season PUP list.

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Bills release Jeff Tuel, nine others

Jeff Tuel AP

The changes continue to the Bills’ QB depth chart.

Second-year quarterback Jeff Tuel, who competed for the top backup job this summer, was among 10 players released by the Bills on Saturday, the club announced.

Tuel, who started one game as a rookie, is subject to waivers. He is also eligible for the practice squad.

Tuel’s departure comes one day after the team reached a deal with Kyle Orton, who will back up EJ Manuel. Orton and Manuel are the only quarterbacks on the roster.

The Bills also parted ways Saturday with wide receiver T.J. Graham, center Doug Legursky, offensive guard Antoine McClain, safety Deon Broomfield, linebacker Jimmy Gaines, wide receiver Caleb Holley, defensive end Ikponmwosa Igbinosun, defensive end Bryan Johnson and safety Kenny Ladler.

However, on a day in which cuts headline transactions around the league, the Bills also made a signing, announcing the addition of punter Colton Schmidt. The Bills released punter Brian Moorman on Friday.

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Falcons finalize roster with 10 more cuts

Jeremy Ebert AP

The Falcons did most of their work yesterday, and the moves they made Saturday to get to the final 53-man roster were not major.

The team announced they released cornerback Ricardo Allen, safety Sean Baker, wide receiver Jeremy Ebert, guard Harland Gunn, tackle Terren Jones, wide receiver Bernard Reedy, defensive tackle Travian Robertson, tight end Mickey Shuler, and linebacker Jacques Smith. The reached an injury settlement with wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn.

The moves leave them with just two tight ends (Levine Toilolo and Bear Pascoe), and after the retirement of Tony Gonzalez, that’s probably an area they’re going to need to add to.

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Derek Cox out in Baltimore, but he’s expected back

Jerick McKinnon, Derek Cox AP

The Ravens released cornerback Derek Cox on Saturday, but he may not be away from the team for long.

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that Cox, who signed in Baltimore after getting cut by the Vikings, is expected to re-sign with the team as soon as Sunday and described Saturday’s transaction as a procedural move. That would explain why the team kept only four corners on their initial 53-man roster. They kept seven wide receivers, so that may be another spot that’s changing.

The majority of the other moves announced by the Ravens on Saturday had either been reported previously (you can catch up with their moves and the moves of every other team on our roster tracker right here) or were also of the procedural variety. Running back Ray Rice and safety Will Hill were both placed on the suspended list as they will miss the first two and six games of the season respectively. Defensive tackle Terrance Cody was also moved to the regular season PUP list, which means he’ll miss at least the first six weeks of the season.

Baltimore also placed wide receiver Jeremy Butler on injured reserve and waived tackle Parker Graham.

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Former starting safety Robert Lester among Panthers cuts

Robert Lester, Kony Ealy AP

The Panthers cut a pair of former contributors to last year’s No. 2-ranked defense as part of final cuts.

Safety Robert Lester, who started last year after making the team as an undrafted rookie was waived, along with cornerback Josh Thomas.

In addition to the previously reported guard Chris Scott, the Panthers also waived linebacker Denicos Allen, cornerback Carrington Byndom, guard Derek Dennis, cornerback James Dockery, linebacker Adarius Glanton, wide receiver Tavarres King, wide receiver Marcus Lucas, tackle Andrew McDonald, safety Tom Nelson, defensive tackle Drake Nevis, running back Darrin Reaves, defensive tackle Micanor Regis, linebacker D.J. Smith, defensive tackle Casey Walker, and fullback Michael Zordich.

They also waived-injured tackle Kevin Hughes, and waived tight end Mike McNeill and safety Anderson Russell with injury settlements.

Defensive end Frank Alexander is on reserve/suspended, and will miss the first four games because of a violaltion of the league’s PED policy.

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Colts get down to 53 after trade with Seahawks

burley AP

A rare cut-day trade has helped the Colts get down to the NFL roster limit of 53 players.

Indianapolis sent cornerback Marcus Burley to Seattle in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The 24-year-old Burley has never played in a regular-season game, and it’s a little surprising that the Seahawks were willing to give up a draft pick to acquire him — especially considering that Seattle isn’t exactly needy at cornerback. But the Seahawks evidently liked what they’ve seen of Burley and thought he was worth a late-rounder.

Indianapolis waived the following 17 players: DE-Gannon Conway, RB-David Fluellen, QB-Chandler Harnish, DE-Tyler Hoover, OLB-Phillip Hunt, ILB-Andrew Jackson, WR-Ryan Lankford, WR-Josh Lenz, C-FN Lutz, S-Dewey McDonald, DT-Nnamdi Obukwelu, CB-Sheldon Price, ILB-Rob Ruggiero, TE-Weslye Saunders, ILB-Kelvin Sheppard, TE-Erik Swoope and G-Josh Walker.

The Colts also released NT-Brandon McKinney, waived-injured T-Matt Hall and S-Delano Howell and placed OLB-Robert Mathis on the reserve/suspended by commissioner list. That gets them down to 53.

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Rams get down to 53

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Michael Sam will get all the headlines, but the Rams made several roster moves today to get down to the NFL’s 53-player limit.

The Rams waived WR Emory Blake, G Travis Bond, DE Kourtnei Brown, S Christian Bryant, DT Matt Conrath, S Avery Cunningham, WR Austin Franklin, QB Garrett Gilbert, DT Deantre Harlan, LB Aaron Hill, T Sean Hooey, DB Greg Reid, LB Etienne Sabino, TE Brad Smelley, LB Phillip Steward, T Mitchell Van Dyk, WR Justin Veltung, OL Brandon Washington, LB Lawrence Wilson and CB Darren Woodard.

The Rams also placed WR Stedman Bailey on reserve/suspended. Bailey is suspended for the first four games of the regular season for a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy.

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Anthony Spencer off PUP list in Dallas, Ryan Williams off roster

Ryan Williams AP

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this week that defensive end Anthony Spencer was going come off the PUP list before transitioning onto the regular season version and the team made it official on Saturday while cutting their roster to 53 players.

The news wasn’t so good for running back Ryan Williams. The former Cardinals second-round pick was looking good early in camp, but a groin injury hampered him as final cuts closed in and he didn’t make the team. It’s the latest bit of bad injury luck for Williams, who is joined on the cut list by veteran wide receiver Desmon Briscoe and guard Uche Nwaneri.

The Cowboys waived-injured linebacker Orie Lemon and defensive tackle Zach Minter. Running back D.J. Adams, tackle Josh Aladenoye, defensive end Kenneth Boatright, defensive tackle Dartwan Bush, wide receiver LaRon Byrd, guard Stephen Goodin, cornerback Terrance Mitchell, wide receiver Jamar Newsome, center Ronald Patrick, defensive end Caesar Rayford, linebacker Dontavis Sapp, linebacker Keith Smith, safety Ryan Smith, linebacker Will Smith, running back Phillip Tanner and tight end Asa Watson were waived outright.

The team also confirmed that they have acquired defensive end Lavar Edwards in a trade with the Titans, and placed cornerback Orlando Scandrick and safety Jakar Hamilton on the suspended list to start the season.

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Rams cut Michael Sam

New Orleans Saints v St. Louis Rams Getty Images

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft, did not make the Rams’ 53-man roster.

The Rams cut Sam in one of their final moves today, the team has announced.

Sam arrived in St. Louis with great fanfare — but with long odds to make the regular-season roster because the Rams were already deep at Sam’s position, defensive end. But Sam played well enough in the preseason that there was increasingly talk in NFL circles that he had a good chance of making it.

Unfortunately for Sam, he was simply caught up in a numbers game, and the Rams decided that he wasn’t one of the top 53 players on their roster. He could still return to St. Louis on the practice squad, a decision that would come in the next couple of days.

But first Sam will go through waivers, which means every NFL team will have a chance to put in a claim for him. Considering how well Sam played in the preseason, there’s a good chance that some other team will take him, and that he’ll be on a 53-man roster when the season begins. But that 53-man roster will not be in St. Louis.

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