Notable Names From NFL Cut Day 2023

If you need some drama between the last preseason game and next Thursday’s regular season opener, NFL Cut Day never disappoints. As always, there were a few surprises, but also a few cuts with interesting context. If there’s a story to tell, no matter the size, I love telling it.

Note that the 53-man roster process is ongoing. Many of these players will be claimed off waivers if they were waived, signed elsewhere if they were released, or signed to a practice squad, often with the team that just cut them. Waiver order after the first cutdown is the same as the draft order if there had been no trades or forfeits, so the Bears get first shot, if they choose.


Colt McCoy, QB

This was one of the first early shockers. Unless you’re a Cards fan and you’ve accepted that your team is tanking. Then you may have seen this coming.

I don’t actually think NFL teams tank, or rather, I don’t think the players do. But when you want the 1st pick, your starter is hurt, and your backup QB has a nasty habit of keeping your team competitive, then off you go, Colt. Don’t let the door hit ya.

Update: Rumored to be of interest for Patriots now vacant backup spot

Update: Matt Corral signed as Pats backup. McCoy still evaluating options.

Bailey Zappe, QB

If you say you saw this one coming, you’re lying. No one did. Some people still thought there was an actual battle between Zappe and Mac Jones for the starting spot. That’s just silly. I can only guess Belichick wanted to shut up fans before they start changing “Zappe!” the first time Mac throws a pick.

Update: Cleared waivers, re-signed to Patriots practice squad

Malik Cunningham, QB/WR

While not a huge surprise for an undrafted rookie to get cut, I really thought Cunningham did enough for a 53-man spot. Instead, he will almost definitely be one of the Pats first practice squad callbacks, assuming he clears wavers.

With Cunningham and possibly even Zappe headed to the practice squad, and Trace McSorley already cut, that leaves Mac Jones as the only QB on the Pats roster. Should be interesting to see who Bill brings in.

Update: Cleared waivers, re-signed to Patriots practice squad

Will Grier, QB

This one is unfortunate. Will Grier did everything asked and more, but with Trey Lance coning to town and Cooper Rush having proven himself as one of the better backups in the league, there’s simply no room left. Mike McCarthy decided to let Grier play the entire final preseason game, and Grier responded by going 29-35 for 305 yards and 2 TDs, plus another 2 TDs and 53 yards rushing. I’m sure they’d love to bring him back to the practice squad, but everyone else saw that performance, as well, so he may find a roster spot.

Update: Cleared waivers, signed to Bengals practice squad

Brett Rypien, QB

A little because he’s Mark Rypien‘s kid, and a little because Broncos fans were desperate to see him throw last year in hopes of finding some kind of spark. They remained disappointed. And now Grandpa Stetson Bennett has a unique opportunity as Stafford’s only backup for LAR.

Update: Cleared waivers, re-signed to Rams practice squad

Melvin Gordon, RB

Badger backs have a roller coaster history in the NFL. As Jonathan Taylor tries to sort out… whatever the hell is going on with him and the Colts, one of his predecessors may have taken his last NFL carry. I’m sure Gordon will hang onto hope for a midseason call, but it’s doubtful it ever comes.

Update: Re-signed to Ravens practice squad

Demetric Felton, Jr., RB/KR

Fantasy players know the name. Felton was a talented returner and an exciting change of pace from Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. But the Browns are determined to not have nice things. I think he’ll find a roster.

Update: Signed to Bengals practice squad … remember this in January

Josh Pederson, TE

I imagine cutting your own son is never an easy task. But it must be extra hard for Doug Pederson to deliver the news at this level of visibility. Fortunately, it wasn’t as though Josh thought he would make the roster. He was 5th on a TE depth that was never going to carry more than 4, and ended up only keeping 3.

Doug didn’t seem to find it all that difficult. “I spanked him at one point. Same thing.”

Update: Father and son reunited, Josh re-signed to Jags practice squad

N’Keal Harry, WR

That’s a name that deserves consideration for my coolest names list. But it was not meant to be for this former 1st rounder. Harry is the only WR taken by the Pats in the 1st round during the Belichick Era, and he barely snuck in at the 32nd pick in 2019. His career was then derailed by injuries and a bizarre trade demand.

Alec Lindstrom, C/OG

Lindstrom had a bubble shot to make the Cowboys roster, but I mostly lost him for the interesting juxtaposition. His older brother, Chris Lindstrom, is the highest paid guard in the league, as well as the inspiration for Alec’s now former teammate Zack Martin, to demand a pay increase. It’s very possible Alec returns to the Cowboys practice squad, where he spent all of 2022.

Michael Jordan, OG

I know it seems like it’s just because of the name, but it’s also because Jordan became a popular meme after recovering a Sam Darnold fumble for a TD last season. The joke, of course, being that in the GOAT debate, Michael Jordan now leads LeBron James 1-0.


Deion Jones, LB

Jones is a bit of a surprise as he’s had a fairly productive career. A 2nd round pick by the Falcons, he earned a Pro Bowl appearance in just his 2nd season and went on to play a total of 6 years in Atlanta, starting every game from 2019-2021. After being traded to Cleveland last year for a late round pick swap, Jones tried to latch on with the Panthers for 2023. Still only 28, he’ll likely get a few more shots as a veteran depth piece, but teams are notoriously unwilling to put much value on off-ball linebackers.

Kalon Barnes, CB

Some guys manufacture so much excitement at the NFL Combine that you can’t help but lock their name in a vault to check in on later. Barnes burned the 2022 combine with a blazing 4.23 40 time, leading to a 7th round flier nod by the Panthers. But it appears the speed hasn’t fully translated to the craft. Still, his physical talents make him a likely practice squad add.

Update: Had tryout with Packers

Bradley Roby, CB

The Saints were on a veteran cut kick, sending Roby and LB Jaylon Smith to the showers. Roby actually rested with the starters through much of preseason as the presumed starting slot corner, so his release was a shock to pretty much everyone. It appears to be a cap-saving move. He’ll find a new spot quickly.

Tanner Muse, LB

Like Barnes, Muse was an NFL Combine star who hasn’t been able to put his physical talents on display. At the 2020 combine, he ran a 4.41 40 with a 1.51 split, then threw up 20 bench reps for good measure. There’s likely a practice squad somewhere interested in developing him into at least a good special teamer.

Update: Claimed off waivers by Chargers to active roster

Jose Ramirez, Edge

Always hurts to see one of my draft steals make this list, but Ramirez still has a lot of career ahead of him if he wants it. I have little doubt the Bucs practice squad already has a place for him.

Update: Cleared waivers, re-signed to Bucs practice squad

Special Teams

Cade York, K

The kicker moves over the past week have been wild. As a 4th round pick, the Browns invested too much in York not to at least bring him back to the practice squad. But he’ll have to work things out there as the team traded for the Chargers veteran Dustin Hopkins, who lost his camp battle with Cameron Dicker the Kicker.

Update: Cleared waivers, signed to Titans practice squad

Brett Maher, K

Maher has to be the most unpredictable kicker I’ve ever seen. Giant leg, but don’t be surprised if he crushes a 60 yarder, then misses an extra point. The Broncos let him go as they made a deal to get Wil Lutz from the Saints. Lutz was the Saints kicker during the last 5 years of Sean Payton’s time with the Saints, so it’s not surprising he jumped on the opportunity to bring him to Denver.

Update: Signed by Rams to active roster

Coolest Cut List Names

As always, may all your teams win or your kickers be traded.

2 thoughts on “Notable Names From NFL Cut Day 2023”

  1. I was kind of surprised to see the Pats cut the net out from under Mac.

    Outside of cuts (I know precious few of these players) the Cowboys trading for Lance made me giggle. Leave it to JJ to drum up another distraction.

  2. I’ve heard theories about why Belichick did it this way. One interesting one was that this was his apology without words to Mac for all the Zappe crap and the year without an OC. Now they signed recently cut Matt Corral to be his backup, so Zappe is firmly out of the immediate picture.

    Idk what’ll happen with Lance, but getting a reset under McCarthy is a good thing for him. As much as people talk trash about McCarthy, there are few better QB development coaches in the league. Lance has some bad habits with his throwing motion that need to break… go take a look at Aaron Rodgers throwing motion coming out of college. Without the patience and direction of McCarthy and his staff, Rodgers would’ve struggled to be an average backup.

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