Morgan was signed on Wednesday to serve as an extra arm in practice amid the season-long loss of Kirk Cousins and with backup quarterback Jaren Hallstill in concussion protocol, leaving only Sean Mannion behind recent acquisitionJoshua Dobbs at quarterback. The undrafted free agent rookie was originally signed by the Steelers, but after not making the initial 53-man roster or practice squad to start the season in Pittsburgh, Morgan returned to his alma mater at the University of Minnesota in order to serve as an offensive analyst on the Golden Gophers staff.
Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These 49ers, Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks moves are noted below.
A new-look running backs room and the continuation of one of the best stories of the preseason underline today’s announcements. The Seahawks had made some cuts in the days leading up to the deadline, but here are the remaining moves the team made to get down to 53 players:
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Jake Bobo gets rewarded for his outstanding preseason performance and will be suiting up in Week 1 of the regular season. The UCLA standout could even earn some significant playing time early as rookie first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba deals with a fractured wrist and Dareke Young and Cody Thompson also deal with injuries.
Veteran former first-round pick Artie Burns survives the final round of roster cuts. Finally healthy, Burns played well in the slot, moving inside as rookie first-round pick Devon Witherspoon dealt with injuries and Coby Bryant played a bit at safety.
Players placed on injured reserve during training camp or the preseason can’t be activated during the 2023 campaign. However, if they’re released from IR (often via an injury settlement), they’re free to sign and play elsewhere. For instance, Anthony Averett will surely be a player who can catch on with a new squad. The cornerback has seen time in 51 games (27 starts), collecting 114 tackles, three interceptions, and 23 passes defended. He had a career season in 2021 with the Ravens, starting all 14 of his appearances while chipping in 54 tackles, 11 passes defended, and three picks. He spent the 2022 season with the Raiders, starting six of his seven appearances while dealing with a pair of IR stints. He caught on with the 49ers earlier this month.
Among today’s signings, Davion Taylor is an intriguing addition to the Bears linebackers room. The former third-round pick spent the first two seasons of his career with the Eagles, including a 2021 campaign where he started six of his nine appearances while compiling 41 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. A knee injury ended that breakout campaign early, and he spent most of the 2022 season on the Eagles’ practice squad.
Streveler is currently dealing with an injury, ESPN’s Dianna Russini tweets. The Jets used Streveler as their top backup QB to close last season, inserting him into a Week 16 game ahead of Joe Flacco. Streveler stuck around via reserve/futures contract in January. But the Jets have since traded for Aaron Rodgers and signed Tim Boyle, marking a new era at quarterback. With Zach Wilson still around, the team does not appear to have any room — potentially even on the practice squad — for Streveler, who has played for the Jets and Cardinals in a three-year NFL career.
Apke has been with Washington since being chosen in the 2018 fourth round. He re-signed with the team in 2022 and stayed via reserve/futures contract in January. A shoulder injury, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, will move Apke to IR, which will end his chances of playing a sixth season with the Commanders this year. Kalu started five games for the Titans last season, playing 494 defensive snaps. Over his first three seasons, Kalu had never cleared the 100-snap barrier on defense.
Schoonmaker suffered a foot injury, a plantar fascia tear, during his final year at Michigan. The Cowboys’ top post-Dalton Schultz tight end investment will aim to make a push for a regular role to begin the season.
The Dolphins made Blackman part of their UDFA class this year. The former Florida State starter spent six years in college, finishing up with Arkansas State. The Dolphins swapped out Teddy Bridgewater for Mike White this offseason, but Skylar Thompsonhas made a push to beTua Tagovailoa‘s backup. Regardless of that competition’s outcome, Blackman’s ceiling appeared to be practice squad QB in Miami. But the Dolphins may be looking into outside help for that developmental role — provided the team plans on stashing a fourth passer on its taxi squad.
Feleipe Frankshas encountered an injury which will interrupt his Falcons tenure. Atlanta announced on Thursday that they have waived the hybrid quarterback/tight end with an injury designation. Jordan Schultz of the Score reports Franks suffered a torn tendon in his foot, which should sideline him for roughly three months (Twitter link).
The former UDFA entered the league as a signal-caller, but the team began transitioning to tight end last summer. Franks has yet to see much usage on offense in either capacity, logging only 68 offensive snaps to date. He has been a contributor on special teams, though, and an increased pass-catching role could have been in the cards for a team lacking in proven weapons in that regard.
Franks, 25, will revert to IR after clearing waivers. During his missed time, the Falcons will still have a tight end tandem facing considerable expectations. Kyle Pittswill look to return to full health and reach his potential as a former top-five pick, while trade acquisition Jonnu Smithand recent signing MyCole Pruittshould provide capable run blocking in head coach Arthur Smith‘s ground-based scheme.
On a busy day in Atlanta, the team also waived/injured wideout Chris Blair and defensive lineman Ikenna Enechukwu. Offensive lineman Ethan Greenidgehas been placed on IR, meaning he will not be eligible to play during the 2023 season. Absences from each of those three players will not have the same effect as that of Franks, who should at least be able to retain his third phase duties upon return.
With the roster spots opened by the above moves, the Falcons have added Michal Menet, Matthew Gotel, Caeveon Patton and Mathew Sexton (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of KPRC2). No member of that quartet has regular season NFL experience, so they could face an uphill climb to secure a 53-man roster spot during cutdowns. While they vie for an NFL opportunity, Franks will focus on rehab and minimizing the time he misses in his third year in Atlanta.