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Hoyer talks about keeping his job, while Manziel works on taking it

Hoyer AP

Regardless of whether the Browns mean it when they claim that veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer has a big lead over rookie Johnny Manziel in the “competition” (Jets style or otherwise) to win the starting job, the question of which man deserves to lead the team will be determined on the practice field, based on how the other players perceive their abilities.

So on a day when Hoyer talked about keeping his job, Manziel may have taken a big step toward taking it.

Sure, Manziel threw three interceptions on the day.   But it was a quintessential Johnny Football play that had everyone buzzing after the OTA session.

As explained by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Manziel rolled to the right, threw left across his body, and hit tight end Jordan Cameron 30 yards down the field.

Pretty sweet, huh?” receiver Nate Burleson said of the play. “It was nice, man.  I like to see Johnny make big plays.  When a quarterback gets into a rhythm and gets a little confidence, his chin pokes up and his chest sticks out a little bit more and they play better and when he gets into a rhythm, he’s a special athlete.

“He’s hard to stop.  He’s doing good, man.  I like what I’m seeing so far out of Johnny Football.”

“He put it exactly where he needed to put it,” Cameron said of the throw.  “It got people going a little.  It was exciting.  I know guys reacted.  That’s what he does.   He makes people react.  It’s an emotional thing when they watch him play.  He brings a lot of energy and that’s his game.”

If enough of their teammates agree with the assessments from Burleson and Cameron, it will be hard for the powers-that-be to open the season with Hoyer at the helm.  Of course, one of their teammate who would vote for Hoyer is, well, Hoyer.

“You never want to see someone else doing your job,” said Hoyer, who is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season.  “That’s the biggest thing for me.  I feel I’m ready and I know a lot of people who come back from this injury talk about the mental aspect.  I think I’ve conquered that months ago.  As the competitor in me I want to be out there with my guys, calling the plays and running them.”

Come September, when the Browns start the season in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, there’s a good chance that it will be Manziel calling the plays and running them, especially if he keeps running them like he did on Tuesday.

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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

Stedman Getty Images

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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Lions make cuts to 53-player limit; Kellen Moore makes roster

Detroit Lions v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

The Lions have reduced their roster to 53 players, the club announced on its website Saturday.

Among the club’s decisions: quarterback Kellen Moore and wide receivers Kevin Ogletree and Ryan Broyles have made the roster.

According to the club’s website, the Lions have released offensive lineman Rodney Austin, linebacker Shamari Benton, wide receiver Kris Durham, wide receiver Patrick Edwards, tight end Michael Egnew, defensive tackle Andre Fluellen, cornerback Chris Greenwood, linebacker Brandon Hepburn, running back Emil Igwenagu, running back Mikel Leshoure, offensive lineman Darren Keyton, safety Nate Ness, offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds, wide receiver Andrew Peacock, defensive tackle Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, defensive lineman Xavier Proctor, linebacker Julian Stanford, cornerback Mohammed Seisay, defensive end Darryl Tapp, tight end Jordan Thompson, offensive lineman Michael Williams and running back George Winn.

Of those moves, the release of Durham, a 13-game starter a season ago, was especially notable. The team also finally parted ways with Leshoure, who flashed talent early in his career before suffering an Achilles injury and falling out of favor.

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Saints knock out Champ Bailey among final cuts

Champ Bailey AP

Veteran cornerback Champ Bailey was obviously a shell of himself last year, and now the question will become whether his brilliant career is over.

A league source tells PFT that the Saints have released Bailey, perhaps one of the day’s biggest surprises.

They were clearly in need of someone to shore up the position, and gave him $500,000 guaranteed on a two-year deal. Figuring the 12-time Pro Bowler would add some legitimacy to a shaky secondary, it seemed like a reasonable investment.

Bailey will turn 36 in June, and it’s uncertain if anyone will give him an opportunity, considering how cornerback-needy the Saints were.

The Saints also terminated the contracts of veteran wide receiver Robert Meachem, linebacker Keyunta Dawson, kicker Shayne Graham and tackle Thomas Welch, while waiving center Matt ArmstrongDerrius Brookscornerback Brandon Colemanlinebacker Todd Daviskicker Derek Dimkecornerback Terrence Frederickwide receiver Charles Hawkinstight end Nic Jacobsguard Marcel Joneswide receiver Seantavious Jones, tackle Tavon Rooksrunning back Derrick StrozierLawrence Virgilcornerback Trevin Wadesafety Pierre Warren and guard Jason Weaver.

That leaves them with no kickers at the moment, but there are a number of viable veterans on the market.


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Chargers get down to 53 players

Vincent Brown AP

As reported earlier on Saturday, the Chargers did not find room for wide receiver Vincent Brown on their initial 53-man roster.

Brown was one of 22 players dropped from the roster, although the team notes that he was waived-injured and would revert to their injured reserve if he makes it through waivers. The team also announced the previously reported cuts of tight end Mike Flacco and cornerback Crezdon Butler.

They added 19 more departures to those transactions. Among the notable names are tackle Mike Harris and 2014 seventh-round wide receiver Tevin Reese.

The team has also parted ways with linebacker Victor Aiyewa, defensive tackle Chas Alecxih, wide receiver Torrence Allen, safety Alden Darby, cornerback Greg Ducre, wide receiver Javontee Herndon, linebacker Thomas Keiser, defensive lineman Joe Kruger, linebacker Cordarro Law, safety Adrian Phillips, tackle Jeremiah Sirles, quarterback Brad Sorensen, linebacker Colton Underwood, guard Craig Watts, tackle Kenny Wiggins,center Khalil Wilkes and defensive end Doug Worthington.

San Diego kept five running backs on the roster, so there’s a good chance some roster shuffling will occur in the near future.

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Bengals put A.J. McCarron on non-football injury list as part of cuts

Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron AP

The Bengals cut veteran safety Daniel Manning and offensive lineman Will Svitek, and will go with two quarterbacks for at least the first six weeks of the season.

Rookie quarterback A.J. McCarron, their fifth-round pick, was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list. He can rehab with the team and go to meetings, and will have a window after Week 6 to begin practicing with the team.

McCarron came to camp with a sore shoulder that hurt his draft stock. That leaves them with just veteran Jason Campbell behind starter Andy Dalton.

The Bengals also placed guard Trey Hopkins on injured reserve, and placed cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris on reserve/suspended for the first two weeks, after he violated the league’s substance abuse policy.

They also waived the following 13 players to get to the limit: H-back Orson Charles, tackle  Dan France, wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, cornerback Victor Hampton, defensive tackle David King, wide receiver Colin Lockett, cornerback Onterio McCalebb, defensive end Dontay Moch, defensive end Sam Montgomery, center Trevor Robinson, defensive tackle Devon Still, fullback Nikita Whitlock and running back James Wilder Jr.

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Jets cut Dimitri Patterson

Dimitri Patterson AP

Cornerback Dimitri Patterson’s short and rocky tenure with the Jets has come to an end.

PFT has learned that the Jets have cut Patterson on Saturday, a few days after he released a statement saying that the Jets were dishonest in saying that they didn’t know where he was when he failed to join the team for their preseason game against the Giants. Patterson was suspended as a result that absence, which was rumored to be due to dissatisfaction about the fact that he wasn’t in the starting lineup for that game.

Patterson denied that was the reason, but the Jets obviously didn’t feel that his reason was good enough to warrant keeping him around despite a weak crop of cornerbacks. Patterson was also bothered by leg injuries this summer, continuing a theme of health issues that’s been a constant in his career.

Patterson signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Jets as a free agent this offseason that included a $1 million signing bonus.

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Cowboys trade for defensive end Lavar Edwards

Lavar Edwards AP

The Cowboys needed to drop 22 players from the roster to get from 75 to 53 by Saturday’s deadline.

Now they’ll need to make a 23rd move. Todd Archer of reports that the Cowboys have traded a conditional seventh-round pick to the Titans in exchange for defensive end Lavar Edwards.

Edwards was a fifth-round pick in 2013 and played in seven games while making one start as a rookie. He made nine tackles and knocked down a pass, which doesn’t make for the most extensive highlight reel but the Cowboys either saw something they liked or had good enough reports on Edwards coming out of LSU that they wanted to bring him on board.

He’ll join what’s regarded as one of the league’s weakest defensive lines, so there should be playing time to earn if Edwards can make a strong impression on defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

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Report: Bills to waive WR T.J. Graham

T.J. Graham AP

The Bills will release of one of their regular receivers from a season ago.

Adam Caplan of reports the Bills are set to waive wide receiver T.J. Graham, a 2012 third-round pick.

The 25-year-old Graham made 17 starts in his first two seasons with Buffalo, hauling in 54 passes for 683 yards and three touchdowns. However, he had fallen down the depth chart this year after the additions of wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams.

The 5-foot-11, 188-yard Graham might be a fit for a club looking to add some speed at wide receiver. He has five catches of 40 yards or more in his professional career.

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Jaguars cut their final four, including Kerry Taylor

Jacksonville Jaguars v Detroit Lions Getty Images

The Jaguars did most of their business yesterday, but cut four more players today to get to the 53-man roster limit.

The team announced they had cut wide receiver Kerry Taylor, cornerback Jamell Fleming, linebacker Nate Stupar and safety Sherrod Martin.

Taylor started four games for the Jags last year, catching 22 passes for the year. But with some young receivers showing well, including rookie Allen Hurns, he became expendable.

Martin’s a former second-round pick of the Panthers, who could get a look elsewhere.

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Greg Little out in Oakland

Little Getty Images

If the Browns now regret cutting receiver Greg Little, they can do something about it.

Little, claimed by the Raiders on waivers after he was cut by the Browns in May, has been released by Oakland.  He’ll be exposed to the waivers process again, with all other teams getting a chance to claim his contract.

A second-round pick in 2011, Little played in every game for three seasons with the Browns.  He started 12 as a rookie, 16 in 2012, and 13 in 2013.

The Browns actually could use him, given the Josh Gordon suspension.  Then again, the Browns knew the suspension was coming when they cut Little.

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