Posted August 31, 2013

Notable Saturday NFL cuts: Austin Collie, Jonathan Dwyer lose roster battles

AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, Buffalo Bills, NFC East, NFC North, NFC West, Pittsburgh Steelers
Vince Young

Vince Young will not serve as Aaron Rodgers’ backup after being dropped by the Packers on Saturday. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Some teams opt to get it out of the way as quickly as possible, like ripping off a band-aid. Others wait until the 11th hour, perhaps hoping that some of their decisions will become easier in time. Either way, all 32 NFL franchises have to trim their rosters down to 53 men by 6 p.m. ET on Aug. 31, meaning that the days following the end of the preseason are among the toughest on the league calendar.

Several familiar names were handed a pink slip Friday. Even more found themselves out of work on Saturday. Here are some of the key players released:

Jonathan Dwyer loses the Pittsburgh running back race

The Steelers’ situation at running back has been one of the more muddled of the preseason. They provided some clarity Saturday by cutting fourth-year back Jonathan Dwyer.

The bulky Dwyer was thought to be in the mix for Pittsburgh’s Week 1 starting job alongside Isaac Redman, with 2013 draft pick Le’Veon Bell coming back from a foot injury. With Dwyer now out of the picture, Redman has a stranglehold on that gig, with the newly-acquired Felix Jones and ex-Cardinal LaRod Stephens-Howling behind him. (Assuming, that is, that Redman is healthy himself — he’s been dealing with a stinger.)

Jones’s future in Pittsburgh certainly looks more secure than the one in front of him with Philadelphia earlier this preseason. The Steelers traded for Jones a little more than a week ago, and he carried the ball 14 times for 56 yards in the team’s final preseason game.

Chargers bite the bullet, cut Robert Meachem

Despite owing him $5 million in guaranteed salary this season, the Chargers opted to release veteran receiver Robert Meachem. The former New Orleans Saint had been relegated to the second and third teams on offense this season, even with multiple players out of the lineup due to injury.


Former first-round pick Danny Watkins at career crossroads?

The story of Danny Watkins was one of those made-for-the-draft tales. Watkins was a hockey player in high school, a part-time firefighter for several years and spent two season at Butte College before transferring to Baylor. He then had a stellar senior season and blew up at the Senior Bowl, leading the Eagles to draft him No. 23 in 2011.

And that’s where things took a turn. Watkins, who turned 27 years old midway through his rookie season, never lived up to his pre-draft promise. With a new coaching staff and scheme in place this season, the Eagles decided enough was enough, releasing Watkins on Saturday.

What’s next for the soon-to-be 29-year-old lineman? CSNPhilly’s Reuben Frank wondered aloud, via Twitter, if this was the end of the line for Watkins in the NFL: “I don’t think Danny Watkins will play again,” Frank tweeted. “I don’t think his heart was ever in football. I don’t think he likes playing the game.”

Even if Watkins still has the drive to compete, finding another NFL home may be a challenge. Watkins is well past the prospect stage of his career, and he showed very little in 2011 or ’12 to indicate that he can be a starter in this league. That journeyman Allen Barbre apparently beat him out for a backup job with Philadelphia certainly does not speak well of what Watkins has left in the tank.

For now, Watkins goes down as a draft bust.


Austin Collie’s comeback stalls

It’s hard not to root for Collie at this point in his career. The hard-luck wide receiver has fought tooth-and-nail to stick around the NFL, despite several devastating concussions and a knee injury. But the former Colt faced an uphill battle to make San Francisco’s 53-man roster, and the impressive preseason work of fourth-round pick Quinton Patton and former Dolphin Marlon Moore made Collie expendable.

Collie delivered two catches in the 49ers’ preseason opener and one in each of their final three exhibition contests. That was hardly enough to convince the 49ers to keep him. Though Collie’s concussion history is no doubt a worry for any team considering signing him, the torn patellar tendon he suffered in 2012 probably played more of a role in his inability to stick with San Francisco.


Vince Young’s stay in Green Bay a short one

Why did the Packers opt to release Young on Saturday, less than a month after signing him to compete for their No. 2 QB job?

“They have to,” an NFL personnel director told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn. “He stinks. Looks like he can’t retain the plays. He freelances.”

Young’s ability to improvise and create outside the pocket has long been a big selling point for his game — he tortured defenses during his college days at Texas in that fashion. He has never been able to translate that style of play to NFL success, though, and Green Bay’s decision to go with B.J. Coleman (for now) as Aaron Rodgers’ backup is a rather damning indictment of Young’s game.


Patriots end the Tim Tebow experiment

Tebow survived New England’s first round of cuts, which left him on the roster long enough to throw a pair of TD passes in a come-from-behind preseason win over the Giants. He was not as fortunate when the Patriots further reduced their roster on Saturday.

What’s next for Tebow? The answer is anyone’s guess at this point, though he would appear to be running out of chances to play QB in the NFL, even as a second- or third-stringer. Tebow did not seem any better prepared for those duties as a Patriot than he was as a Jet last season. In three preseason outings for New England, Tebow was 11-for-30 passing, though he did run for 91 yards on 16 attempts.


Packers also thin out running back ranks

On top of deciding that Vince Young was not a great fit as a backup QB, the Packers made a similar call on running back Alex Green. A 2011 third-round pick, Green started four games last season en route to 464 yards rushing. The writing may have been on the wall for him, however, when Green Bay used a pair of draft picks this April on Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin.

Franklin’s struggles throughout camp and a season-ending injury for DuJuan Harris kept the door slightly ajar for Green — who had to try to fend off James Starks, too — but he instead was the odd man out. The Packers will go with Lacy, Starks, Franklin and fullback John Kuhn as their primary ball carriers, barring another roster move.


Titans boot 16-game starter

The Tennessee Titans worked hard this offseason to rework their offensive line, following a disheartening 2012 effort. In addition to using a first-round draft on Chance Warmack, the Titans also plucked guard Andy Levitre and center Rob Turner off the free-agent market. Those developments squeezed out of the lineup Fernando Velasco, who started every game as the Titans’ center last season.


Bills fail to find trade partner for Bryan Scott

Rumor had it that the Bills were looking to deal Scott before Saturday’s cut-down deadline. No such luck. Apparently unable to drum up any interest for their 32-year-old linebacker on the trade market, Buffalo opted to cut Scott.

Scott’s salary was rather manageable at $940K this season, but he had been pushed down the depth chart in spite of re-signing with the Bills this offseason. Scott had been a member of Buffalo’s roster since 2007, racking up 27 starts and more than 300 tackles in that time. Even though Buffalo could not land anything for Scott in a trade, there does figure to be a team out there that could use his veteran presence.


Marvin Austin part of Giants’ cut list

As the Bills did with Bryan Scott, the Giants tried to find a team interested in trading for DT Marvin Austin ahead of Saturday’s roster deadline. It would have been a minor upset had they finished that quest, as Austin has failed to make any lasting impact since being selected in Round 2 of the 2011 draft. Austin missed all of his rookie season because of a torn pectoral muscle and a back injury limited him in 2012.

Rebuilding Raiders have no room for Andre Carter; opt to keep four quarterbacks

The Raiders re-signed Carter this offseason, despite Carter recording just 2.5 sacks last season (a half-sack off his career-low from 2004, when he played in seven games). Their decision to trim Carter from their roster Saturday could signal the end of the line for the veteran pass-rusher. The 32-year-old Carter did have 10 sacks in a starting role for New England back in 2011, so there may be some production left.

Carter was one of the Raiders pushed off the roster, in part, because Oakland opted to stick with four quarterbacks: Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin and fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson.

29 comments
ParisLay
ParisLay

Check out the 1st Annual NFL Coach Hot-Seat Power Rankings...TOO FUNNY LMAO...See where your team's coach landed as well as the rest of the league's coaches....http://bit.ly/134XmLL 

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

On VY:“He stinks. Looks like he can’t retain the plays. He freelances.”

===========================

can't retain?  New p.c. way of saying he is too stupid for QB? But that would demean the black man and be racist.

Sammyz
Sammyz

Chicago cuts J'Marcus Webb, their 17 game starting left tackle.  Who took his spot you ask?  Why a fresh 5th round pick Rookie.

OK
OK

Can the NFL and mankind survive without Reverend Tebow?


friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

I dont understand why the Panthers waived Gettis, I thought he could challenge for the second reciever spot. That better be a fake injury to get Gettis through waivers... IF NOT , SMH ... and why can't Vince get a job.... something is "Fisher" behind the scene

atthebarbershop
atthebarbershop

Just last week the media was saying Young was going to be the back up following the Harrell release. WTF? The media is known for ripping players when they do something wrong. I wonder if they will embarass themselves, with the same sarcastic derision they typically use on the players, for getting this wrong?

Bad1v
Bad1v

@WHO*IS*ESPN I don't know why you have such a problem with Black men, your Mother and Wife don't.

3M_TA3
3M_TA3

Can any NFL fan not be a bigot when referring to Tebow's religion? I'm an atheist and can see the bigotry shine through. Pathetic.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@atthebarbershop You toss around the term media like all of those who follow football owe you an apology for some of their fellow reporters being wrong about Vince Young.  Nice try.

eddie767
eddie767

@Iamnotanenabler Why? He's no better than VY. Plus,he'd never see the field. Next time you want to right that about Tebow,remember your screen name,and don't do it.

Sammyz
Sammyz

@3M_TA3 Here's a thought, and hear me out on this one, I don't care if Tebow is a Christian, a Lutheran, a Muslim or worships the great Flying Spaghetti Monster, he's a terrible Quarterback.  

You can't deny facts.

OK
OK

@3M_TA3 

Who's an NFL fan, and why are you such a bigot for assuming that everyone who writes a single word about Reverend Tebow is an NFL fan?

Two most irritating types of proselytizer alive, in inverse order:

2. The Amerikin (sic) Born Agin (sic)

1. The Atheist

Why did you need to inform readers of your atheism? Personally, I don't care if you're a potted fern. You think and write with the intelligence of one.

If you want to worship Reverend Tebow, fine. Free country, last I checked.

But stick your proselytizing the same place Reverend Tebow sticks his hand-held toilet paper. 

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

@JoeCabot

But Tebow get chance after chance, if anything Tebow is an example of not good enough and if Fisher doesn't carry any weight... then why did Vince feel it necessary  to give Fisher a public apology deserving or not 

Iamnotanenabler
Iamnotanenabler

Next time you reply to my comment, look twice at the last three characters of my post... :-)

OK
OK

@Sammyz @3M_TA3  

Sammy,

Of course you can deny facts. The Denial of Facts is largely the basis for Wall Street, hedge funds, the balance of the group that calls itself the media, the entire talk radio and television biz, a good chunk of the political class, and eight out of 10 guys who are trying to get inside some woman's skirt at a bar this Labor Day weekend.

eddie767
eddie767

@Ray1950  I made a mistake,but the person i was conversing with still knew what i meant. But,if you are the grammar police/judge,i throw myself to the mercy of court.