It was a tough day around the NFL…864 players were laid off…the 32-teams each cut 27-players as teams went from 80-to-53 players.
Careers end. Hopes are dashed. Veterans forced out at the end of the road. Young players sent home, just not good enough. There will be alot of empty locker stalls in team facilities now.
Now each team on Wednesday night will have a window to sign back 16-players each to put on their Taxi squad.
Much like last year, the roster rules are very different.
Players put on Injured reserve at cutdown Tuesday, can be brought back after just 3-weeks on the IR list. Back in the day, IR guys wound up sitting out the entire season. Now you can be recalled one time from the IR list. And you can recall an unlimited number of players from IR once healthy.
The developmental squad was for rookies or players with one years experience. It started as a 5-man roster, went to 10, then 12. In the pandemic days, it is 16.
And for the second year in a row, the taxi squad can include up to 6-veteran players who can be stashed there. However the players get taxi pay-checks to practice but not play games, so any veteran going there has to accept the minimum taxi salary. And taxi squad players can be moved up and back to the 53-man roster on a weekly basis.
The Chargers roster in camp, was loaded with young athletes, many of them having had just a brief taste of the NFL. Those roster cuts were hard because most had not gotten a chance to play much, but showed flashes.
There were surprises. The Bolts released big play WR-Tyron Johnson, and young kick returner Joe Reed, both who flashed last year in limited opportunities.
The team chopped veteran kicker Michael Badgley, after his missed 9-field goals and 3-extra points last fall. Kicking has been a Chargers nitemare for years. Tristain Vizcaino, untested, replaces him.
There was spirited competition at running back, and rookie Larry Rountree made it; the other young back Darius Bradwell did not.
If there was a surprise, it was that running Justin Jackson was retained despite a history of injuries, three straight seasons with the team. He would have been a ideal candidate to be stashed on the new look-short term IR list.
Come opening day with there will be four new offensive line starters plus oft-injured returning OT-Bryan Bulaga. There is hardly any depth in the backup OL slots. And they are going to continue to try to groom Trey Pipkins as an OT depth piece, considering how poor a preseason he had, and this from a 3rd year player, still struggling. He’s the only left from the drafts of years ago that was supposed to be star Dan Feeny, Forrest Lamp and others. All but Pipkens gone.
Youngster Forrestt Merrill made the team at defensive tackle, while a more experienced Cortez Broughton was cut loose.
It sure seems like a big gamble, who stayed, who left, on the Bolts roster cutdown day.
They open the season with the bright light kid quarterback Justin Herbert. They have only 5-wide receivers on that roster. They are carrying only 4-running backs, in fact have as many tight ends on the list as they do ball carriers.
They have just 5-defensive lineman for opening day, but are carrying a combined 19-linebackers and defensive backs, a huge commitment, considering you know there will be injuries along the way.
Of course the Bolts will re-sign some of those young players cut and put them on developmental, so we may yet see Tyron Johnson and others come back.
On a day when Cam Newton was cut in New England, WR-John Brown by the Raiders, and Pernell McPhee-the LB-for the Ravens, it was a group of young players given the pink slip more than anyone else.
Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll of the Steelers used the favorite phrase, ‘get on with your life’s work’. 864-face that challenge beginning Wednesday morning after getting released Tuesday night.
Life in the NFL…at Cutdown Day.