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Champ Bailey “fully healthy” and “definitely” wants to play this season

Champ Bailey AP

The Saints parted ways with cornerback Champ Bailey as they dropped to 53 players this weekend, leading some to wonder if this is the end of the line for a likely Hall of Famer.

Bailey has spent 15 years in the NFL, but was bothered by a foot injury this summer after missing 11 games for the Broncos because of a similar problem last season. That run of health problems and his failure to make the Saints paint a bleak picture for the 12-time Pro Bowler’s future, but Bailey’s agent Jack Reale says his client isn’t ready to hang up the cleats.

“Definitely, and he is fully healthy now,” Reale said, via NFL Media. “He had a plantar problem, which is resolved, but he just missed too much time for the coach’s evaluation to be complete and unfortunately in the last two games they didn’t throw at him, so he couldn’t show his stuff. He is fine.”

Teams are always looking for cornerbacks — the Jets come to mind as a team with a real need at the position right now — and Bailey’s resume is the sort of thing that makes teams pay attention when he’s on the open market. That won’t help him if he can’t stay healthy enough to be productive, though, and it certainly feels like the curtain is coming down on Bailey’s decorated NFL career.

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Giants not expecting Odell Beckham for Week 1

Giants Camp Football AP

The Giants will likely open their season with their first-round draft pick where he has been throughout the preseason: on the sideline.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin indicated on Saturday that rookie receiver Odell Beckham, who is nursing a hamstring injury, isn’t expected to play in the Monday night opener against the Lions. Coughlin said one of the reasons wide receiver Preston Parker made the 53-man roster is that he’ll be playing some of the roles the Giants had hoped Beckham could play.

“Preston also has the punt return/kick return ability,” Coughlin said, via Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. “Right now that’s very critical for us, because Odell Beckham was going to be the punt returner.”

The Giants still have high hopes for Beckham as a big-play threat in their offense, some day. But that day will not be next Monday night in Detroit.

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Michael Sam expects “a long and successful career”

michaelsam AP

Shortly after he was released by the Rams, Michael Sam said he sees today as just a minor setback.

Sam wrote on Twitter that he still believes he’s going to make it in the NFL, even if he didn’t make the Rams’ 53-man roster after today’s final cuts.

“I want to thank the entire Rams organization and the city of St. Louis for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to show I can play at this level. I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career,” Sam wrote.

Sam played well enough in the preseason that he has a chance to get picked up on waivers by some other NFL team. If so, he’ll be on a 53-man roster heading into Week One of the NFL season.

If Sam isn’t claimed on waivers, he may be signed to the Rams’ practice squad, or he could end up on another team’s practice squad. So Sam will likely get another opportunity to try to make it in the NFL. Even if he fell short on his first opportunity.

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All 32 teams are down to 53 players

maurkice AP

The toughest day of the year for NFL players on the roster bubble has come and gone, and all 32 teams are now down to the 53-player roster limit.

About 700 players were released, placed on injured reserve or otherwise removed from active rosters today, and we have all their names in our 53-man roster tracker. Those who remain are on 53-man rosters.

But those rosters are not final, and this weekend’s business in the NFL isn’t done: Dozens of waiver claims and free agent signings will happen on Sunday, and that means dozens more players will have to be cut to make room for those players who are changing teams.

And then teams will begin assembling their practice squads, with about 300 of the players who were cut today finding out that they’ll have jobs in the NFL after all, albeit jobs that don’t pay quite as well as active-roster spots.

Bottom line: It’s been a busy day. And it’s just the start of a busy NFL weekend. And just the appetizer for next week’s much more fun NFL weekend.

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Packers keep three quarterbacks

Scott Tolzien, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn AP

Reports on Saturday indicated the Packers were only going to keep two quarterbacks on their initial 53-man roster, but those reports have been proven incorrect.

The Packers unveiled their roster on Saturday afternoon and it includes Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien. Both Flynn and Tolzien saw time with the Packers offense as they cycled through options after Rodgers was injured. Having two guys on hand will lead to less scrambling if things unfold that way again this year, although one imagines Green Bay would rather just have Rodgers in there all 16 games.

Green Bay got down to 53 players by cutting safety Chris Banjo, wide receiver Kevin Dorsey, linebacker Jake Doughty, tackle John Fullington, center Garth Gerhart, wide receiver Alex Gillett, defensive tackle Carlos Gray, running back Michael Hill, linebacker Adrian Hubbard, guard Jordan McCray, safety Tanner Miller, tight end Justin Perillo, running back LaDarius Perkins, defensive end Luther Robinson, cornerback Jumal Rolle, tackle Jeremy Vujnovich, wide receiver Myles White and cornerback Ryan White.

They also placed tackle Aaron Adams, linebacker Nate Palmer, tight end Jake Stoneburner and defensive tackle Khyri Thornton, a 2014 third-round pick, on injured reserve.

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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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Chiefs release PK Ryan Succop in move to 53 players

Ryan Succop AP

The Chiefs have parted ways with their incumbent kicker.

Ryan Succop, the Chiefs’ kicker the last five seasons, was released by the club on Saturday, the team announced.

The 27-year-old Succop hit 22-of-28 field goals and forced 47 touchbacks in 91 kickoffs in 2013. The final pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, Succop had spent his entire career with Kansas City.

It’s quite possible Succop could land elsewhere this season. New Orleans, Philadelphia and Tennessee are among the clubs unsettled at kicker. His release could have been driven by finances. Succop was slated to make $1.95 million in salary in 2014 and $7.6 million in salary over the next three seasons, according to NFLPA records.

With Succop departing, the Chiefs are left with rookie Cairo Santos at kicker. Santos is scheduled to make $420,000 this year, per players union data. Santos connected on all three field goal attempts in exhibition play.

In addition to cutting Succop, the Chiefs announced the release of safety Jonathon Amaya, safety Malcolm Bronson, fullback Jordan Campbell, defensive lineman Dominique Hamilton, wide receiver Mark Harrison, offensive guard Ricky Henry, linebacker Alonzo Highsmith, linebacker Nico Johnson, defensive tackle Kyle Love, cornerback Justin Rogers, defensive lineman Kona Schwenke, cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, linebacker Devan Walker, offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb, tailback Charcandrick West and wide receiver Fred Williams. Johnson was the Chiefs’ fourth-round pick in the 2013 draft (No. 99 overall).

The Chiefs also placed quarterback Tyler Bray and wide receiver Kyle Williams on injured reserve, with defensive end Mike Catapano landing on the non-football injury list.

The team also said it had placed wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and offensive lineman Donald Stephenson on the reserve/suspended list. Bowe will serve a one-game NFL suspension to begin 2014, while Stephenson is out four games. The Chiefs get roster exemptions for both players.

The Chiefs are at the 53-player limit.

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Dolphins put Mike Pouncey on active 53-man roster

Mike+Pouncey+g0hwub0Gbh9m Getty Images

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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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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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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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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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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Brandon Meriweather loses appeal of suspension

Meriweather AP

Washington safety Brandon Meriweather is officially suspended for the first two games of the regular season.

Meriweather, who was suspended for his sixth violation of the rules against hitting defenseless opponents in the head, has lost his appeal of that suspension.

The appeal was heard by Ted Cottrell, who is hired jointly by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. Cottrell was an NFL linebacker and had a long career as a defensive coach, so he’s not opposed to tough, physical defensive football. In fact, Cottrell reduced another suspension for Meriweather last year, from two games to one. But Meriweather has crossed the line too many times.

Meriweather will be eligible to re-join Washington for Week Three.

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Reports: Vincent Brown doesn’t make Chargers’ roster

Vincent Brown, Charles Woodson AP

Vincent Brown’s time with the Chargers could be at a close.

According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the fourth-year wide receiver has not made the club’s 53-player roster.

Brown will be waived-injured, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Saturday, according to NFL.com. Brown has been sidelined with a calf injury throughout the summer and did not appear in any exhibition games.

The 25-year-old Brown caught 41 passes for 472 yards and a touchdown in 16 games (12 starts) for San Diego in 2013. The Chargers selected him in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

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Bengal cut former second-rounder Devon Still

Still Getty Images

In 2012, the Bengals used a second-round pick on defensive lineman Devon Still.  In 2014, they release him.

Per a league source, Still will be among the cuts down to 53 players.

Still appeared in 10 games last season and eight as a rookie.  He told PFT Live a month before the 2012 draft that Still, who played at Penn State, is a Steelers fan.  The Steelers, along with every other team, will now have a chance to claim him on waivers.

Still’s situation underscores the inherent crapshoot that is the draft.  In the same year they ultimately wasted a second-round pick on Still, the Bengals signed an undrafted linebacker named Vontaze Burfict.

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