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 Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints moves are noted below.
Austin Corbett continues to rehab from a torn ACL and has been sitting on PUP throughout the preseason. The transaction means the starting guard can’t be activated to the active roster until Week 5, but he may need longer to get into form. NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe tweets that the team is hoping to have him back midway through the season. Rookie ChandlerZavala will likely slide into the starting lineup while Corbett is sidelined.
Eric Rowe has 100 games of experience in stints with the Eagles, Patriots, and Dolphins. He’s spent the past four seasons in Miami, starting 39 of his 63 appearances. This included a 2022 campaign where he got into 14 games (six starts), finishing with 56 tackles and a pair of sacks. The two-time Super Bowl champ joined the Panthers back in April.
At left tackle, Dion Dawkins slots in as the obvious left tackle starter, as he has since his rookie year. The starter across from him, for right now, is currently Spencer Brown. Brown has started 24 games over his first two years in the league, but the ability of the former third-round pick to start long term has yet to be proven.
If Brown struggles or if he or Dawkins go down with injury, Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic reports that David Quessenberry is expected to slot into the primary backup, swing tackle role. Buffalo doesn’t have a ton of depth beyond Quessenberry, and this late in the season, that’s not too likely to change.
Tommy Doyle and Ryan Van Demark both sit on the depth chart behind Quessenberry and should make a push for the initial 53-man roster, if not solely due to the lack of depth. But Quessenberry should be the first name off the bench in the case that Brown or Dawkins aren’t there for any reason.
Here are a few other rumors coming out of the AFC, starting with another team in the AFC East:
The Patriots have been operating the past two weeks without veteran starting cornerback Jonathan Jones. The long-time staple in New England’s secondary has been absent with an undisclosed injury. Luckily, whatever the ailment is, Karen Guregian of MassLive reports that Jones is expected to be back for the team’s regular season opener. The Patriots are reportedly being careful with him, but the plan is for him to be starting a couple Sundays from now.
Last month, the Raidersconcluded a deal that would eventually help them bring in veteran cornerbackMarcus Peters. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the team converted $3.92MM of wide receiver Jakobi Meyers‘s base salary for 2023 into a signing bonus and added two voidable years. The move takes his base salary down from $5MM in 2023 to $1.08MM but freed up $3.14MM of cap space, helping Las Vegas to continue building their roster this offseason.
Staying in the AFC West, the rich got richer when the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs added Kansas State pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah at the end of the first round this past April. Most of the team’s pass rushing comes from interior lineman Chris Jones, but with Frank Clark gone, a starting role was open across from George Karlaftis III. Kansas City signedCharles Omenihu to potentially fill that role, but he is set to serve a six-game suspension to start the season. Still, according to The Athletic contributor Nate Taylor’s recent update, the plan for Anudike-Uzomah appears to be for him to appear out of a rotation. The team may explore adding an additional veteran pass rusher to help holdover the role in Omenihu’s absence, but in the long run, they don’t want to rush Anudike-Uzomah out on the field until he’s ready.
The Bills have not re-signed Rodger Saffold, who stopped through in his 13th season. The former Rams and Titans guard remains a free agent. A part-time Cowboys starter until taking over as a regular last year, McGovern signed a three-year, $22.35MM deal early in free agency. He is on track to replace Saffold at left guard. Despite being a three-plus-year Rams starter who lined up at left guard throughout the team’s Super Bowl LVI-winning season, Edwards only scored a one-year, $1.77MM commitment in late March. Edwards may represent a dark-horse starter candidate, but at worst, the fifth-year veteran — who is coming off a season marred by a concussion — should bring better depth for the Bills.
It would seem Torrence has the best case for upward mobility. The Florida alum closed his college career with 34 straight starts at right guard, helping the likes of Kyle Pitts and Anthony Richardson become top-five picks. ESPN’s Scouts Inc. graded Torrence as this class’ top pure guard, slotting him as the No. 42 overall prospect. Torrence’s presence figures to turn up the heat on incumbent right guard Ryan Bates, who worked as a full-season starter for the first time in 2022. Pro Football Focus graded Bates as a mid-pack guard, ranking him 41st at the position. The Bills matched a Bears RFA offer sheet for Bates last year; that four-year, $17MM contract runs through 2025.
On the whole, PFF slotted the Bills as last season’s 23rd-ranked O-line. The Bengals established firm trench control on both sides in the teams’ one-sided playoff matchup, leading to an offseason emphasis for the Bills, who signed inside runners Damien Harris and Latavius Murray. That said, the team did not proceed aggressively at tackle. Spencer Brown is ticketed to stick at right tackle opposite mainstay Dion Dawkins, and the Bills hope the former third-round pick’s return to full strength will make a difference after a down sophomore slate.
Brown underwent back surgery last year, leading to his missing the team’s offseason program and several training camp workouts. As Brown eased into the season, he suffered an ankle injury in Week 6. PFF ended up grading the Northern Iowa alum as a bottom-10 tackle last year. While the ankle issue caused Brown to miss two games, he said he did not feel recovered from the back ailment until near the end of the season.
“I never really got comfortable with anything, then back surgery was – I mean, I’ve had some surgeries, but that was top of the list, by far the worst one,” Brown said, via O’Halloran. “… I had maybe eight practices in training camp. The first time I actually hit the ground was in L.A., the third play of the game. … I’d be pulling some plays and I’d be like, ‘Please just hold up on me.'”
The Bills did not draft a tackle, though the team does have insurance options in the recently re-signedDavid Quessenberry and post-draft additionBrandon Shell. The latter spent last season as the Dolphins’ primary right tackle, filling in for Austin Jackson, and has 72 career starts during his time in with the Jets, Seahawks and Dolphins. The Bills will bet on Brown faring better in his third season, but veteran backups are in place across the line.
18 teams had their seasons come to an end yesterday, and their front offices have already turned the page to the 2023 NFL seaon. This started today, as a number of players were signed to reserve/futures contracts, which allows organizations to retain (routinely) young, practice squad players throughout the offseason. Here are today’s reserve/futures contracts:
The most notable move was kicker Zane Gonzalez landing on injured reserve, making him ineligible to return for the 2022 campaign. Gonzalez injury himself on Friday night while warming up on the sideline. It was later revealed that he suffered a significant groin injury, and that injury ended up being season-ending. The Panthers worked out five potential replacements yesterday.
Juston Burris started 20 of his 23 games for the Panthers over the past two seasons. After collecting a career-high 53 tackles in 2020, the safety finished with only 23 tackles this past year, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 77th among 92 qualifying safeties. He was on the roster bubble following the offseason pickup of Xavier Woods. Brandon Zylstra has seen time in 37 games for the Panthers over the past three years, hauling in 29 receptions for 391 yards and one touchdown. Yesterday’s trade for Laviska Shenault Jr. only pushed him further down the depth chart, leading to his release.