Tracking the 2021 Roster Cut Casualties

Aug 31, 2021
Tracking the 2021 Roster Cut Casualties

The sad time of final cuts is upon us once again, as NFL teams around the league trim their rosters to get down to the 53 players allowed for the regular season. This year, we have three cut-down days, with August 31, 2021 the last day for players to land a spot on the final 53-person roster. For many, this may be the last chance at a career in the NFL. For a few, this day marks vindication for a lifetime of hard work and struggle to reach this pinnacle of athletic achievement.

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For fantasy managers, final cut day tells a different story. As teams finalize rosters, fans and fantasy managers are treated to a flurry of activity that could make or break a fantasy team. Did you draft the right handcuff? Did your veteran quarterback win the job? Is your kicker still employed? Add to that the excitement of the impending NFL regular season, and it’s a good time to be a football fan.

To keep track of all these moves, has you covered! This article will be updated throughout the final cut weekend, including updates as players are scooped up off waivers, so check in before your fantasy drafts for any potentially impactful transactions. The below team-by-team brief analysis is not meant to be comprehensive but will highlight any fantasy-relevant moves.

Additionally, players placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and placed on injured reserve (IR) during final cuts will be noted. The IR designation typically means a player's season is done—although, in some cases, a team may bring one player back after six weeks. Meanwhile, landing on the PUP list makes a player ineligible to play for the first six weeks of the season. Likewise, the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list allows teams to reserve a player for a non-football injury for the first six weeks of the season.

Arizona Cardinals

Ito Smith, RB

The release of Ito Smith isn't really surprising, but it opens a door for Eno Benjamin to get some supplemental work if James Conner continues to struggle with injuries, as he has the past two seasons.

Atlanta Falcons

Javian Hawkins, RB; A.J. McCarron, QB (IR); Caleb Huntley, RB; D'Onte Foreman, RB; Qadree Ollison, RB

Additions: Josh Rosen, QB; Wayne Gallman, RB

The release of Hawkins was surprising, despite his undrafted status, based on pre-camp buzz about potential backup duty. With him off the roster, Qadree Ollison should get backup work. McCarron landing on IR prompted the addition of Rosen, who will battle with rookie Feleipe Franks for the backup job behind Matt Ryan. My money is on Franks. Foreman and Huntley aren't really surprising, but swapping Ollison for Wayne Gallman is interesting considering Ollison looked solid in the preseason. There are just two tailbacks on the roster in Mike Davis and Wayne Gallman. Gallman becomes an interesting handcuff, and Cordarrelle Patterson may get some complementary work as well.

Baltimore Ravens

J.K. Dobbins, RB (IR)

Obviously, the Dobbins injury is devastating for everyone involved. Fantasy owners should consider Gus Edwards a quality RB2 now.

Buffalo Bills

No significant roster cuts at this time.

Carolina Panthers

Will Grier, QB; Joey Slye, K

At lease for now, P.J. Walker has won the backup job behind Sam Darnold. With Slye out, Ryan Santoso looks like the new kicker in Carolina.

Chicago Bears

Tarik Cohen, RB (PUP)

Additions: Breshad Perriman, WR

Cohen going on PUP isn't really a surprise, but it's still disappointing. Damien Williams and possibly even rookie Khalil Herbert benefit. David Montgomery could also see similar targets to his end-of-season numbers in 2020 to start the year. Perriman is another body, but probably doesn't get a lot of action behind Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney.

Cincinnati Bengals

Trayveon Williams, RB

The talented Williams was never able to stay fully healthy and was beat out by rookie Chris Evans and veteran Samaje Perine for backup work.

Cleveland Browns

Cody Parkey, K

Parkey got hurt and then lost his job. For now, Chase McLaughlin is the kicker for what could be an emerging offense. Watch the Browns' roster moves to see if they bring in anyone else.

Dallas Cowboys

Ben DiNucci, QB; Garrett Gilbert, QB

Additions: Will Grier, QB

Cooper Rush will probably be the backup QB to Dak Prescott, but the Cowboys must see something they like about Grier as a developmental prospect to carry three QBs into the season.

Denver Broncos

Royce Freeman, RB

The Broncos opt for Mike Boone as the RB3 instead of Freeman, who could latch on elsewhere.

Detroit Lions

Breshad Perriman, WR; Randy Bullock, K; Zane Gonzalez, K

Additions: Austin Seibert, K

With Perriman out, there should be more opportunity for Tyrell Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown and possibly even Quintez Cephus. Bullock and Gonzalez were the only kickers on the roster, but Detroit opted to go the waiver-wire route and pick up Seibert. The Lions don't figure to be an offense where the kicker has a lot of fantasy value, however.

Green Bay Packers

Dexter Williams, RB

Williams was a long shot to climb the depth chart, but his departure will continue the hype around rookie Kylin Hill.

Houston Texans

Keke Coutee, WR

Coutee is a suprise release, but opens the door for rookie Nico Collins to play outside and for Anthony Miller to get the bulk of the snaps in the slot.

Indianapolis Colts

No significant roster cuts at this time.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Travis Etienne, RB (IR); Gardner Minshew, QB (TRADE); Collin Johnson, WR; Jake Luton, QB

Additions: Tyron Johnson, WR

Obviously, the injury to Etienne and subsequent placement on IR is devastating for Etienne owners. James Robinson will now catapult back up draft boards and will likely hang out around RB15 in the rankings. Minshew being traded was a shocker, considering he was cOmPeTiNg for the starting job with Trevor Lawrence. With Jake Luton also gone, C.J. Beathard has won the backup QB job. Collin Johnson had some upside and showed flashes a year ago, but the top three on the depth chart were too much for him to overcome. The addition of Tyron Johnson is interesting, as he had a few nice plays in Los Angeles, but it'll be tough to get snaps.

Kansas City Chiefs

Darwin Thompson, RB

Thompson was outplayed by Darrel Williams and watch Jerick McKinnon in this offense.

Las Vegas Raiders

John Brown, WR

The release of Brown means good things for Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. Keep an eye on where Brown lands after requesting and being granted his release, per Tom Pelissero.

Los Angeles Chargers

Michael Badgley, K; Tyron Johnson, WR

Tristan Vizcaino seems to have won the kicking job for the Chargers. The release of Johnson is a bit of a surprise, but dynasty managers should keep in mind Mike Williams' impending free agency and the fact that Jalen Guyton and rookie Josh Palmer beat out Johnson for roster spots.

Los Angeles Rams

Additions: Sony Michel, RB (TRADE)

No significant roster cuts at this time. Michel strengthens the depth behind Darrell Henderson, who is nursing a thumb injury. Watch for a committee.

Miami Dolphins

Lynn Bowden Jr., RB/WR (IR)

Bowden being placed on IR might make room for Malcolm Perry to make the roster, who could be in line for some slash work, and could push Jakeem Grant in the return game.

Minnesota Vikings

Additions: Chris Herndon, TE (TRADE)

The Vikings added Herndon to help mitigate the loss of Irv Smith Jr., who is expected to miss the start of the season.

New England Patriots

Sony Michel, RB (TRADE); Cam Newton, QB; Nick Folk, K

The Patriots un-murkied their backfield just a bit by shipping off Michel. This is good news for Damien Harris, and probably good news for rookie Rhamondre Stevenson as well. Cutting Cam Newton was probably more surprising than it should be. The elevation of Mac Jones is good for everyone in fantasy. The RBs should get more touchdowns, the receivers should get better targets and a less murky QB situation adds another streamer to the mix. Looks like Quinn Nordin has won the kicking job.

New Orleans Saints

Devonta Freeman, RB

Freeman was an afterthought in the offense after a nice preseason showing from Tony Jones.

New York Giants

Alfred Morris, RB; Corey Clement, RB

The release of Morris is only mildly interesting, but the cutting of Corey Clement was a little more surprising. Devontae Booker should definitely be considered the handcuff in New York.

New York Jets

Chris Herndon, TE (TRADE)

Herndon being out of the mix makes Tyler Kroft an interesting option in deep leagues or in best ball formats where you go for a three-TE build.

Philadelphia Eagles

Kerryon Johnson, RB; Jordan Howard, RB; Travis Fulgham, WR

Additions: Gardner Minshew, QB (TRADE)

This running back room looked pretty crowded, but with Johnson and Howard out of the picture, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell should get complementary and backup work behind Miles Sanders before. Minshew muddies the waters a bit, but will likely begin third on the depth chart behind Joe Flacco. Fulgham is a little surprising after a good season in emergency mode last year, but his release helps pave the way for Quez Watkins to prove the preseason wasn't a fluke.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Jaylen Samuels, RB

The release of Samuels probably means good things for second-year back Anthony McFarland Jr., who could assume some pass-catching complementary snaps.

San Francisco 49ers

Wayne Gallman, RB

The release of Gallman means Jeff Wilson lives to vulture another day. Watch Gallman's landing spot, as he's been a functional backup in the past.

Seattle Seahawks

No significant roster cuts at this time.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No significant roster cuts at this time.

Tennessee Titans

No significant roster cuts at this time.

Washington Football Team

Lamar Miller, RB; Steven Sims Jr., WR; Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR; Peyton Barber, RB

The release of Miller was expected but, along with the release of Barber, helps clear the way for rookie Jaret Patterson to have a handcuff role in Washington. Sims was a popular breakout candidate a year ago, but the depth chart got crowded and Sims was beat out on both offense and special teams. Gandy-Golden was a dynasty favorite a year ago, but failed to latch on in a crowded room.

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