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NFL teams had to cut their final rosters down to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Now that teams are finalized, here’s a look at some of the league’s most surprising cuts.
OL Alex Leatherwood – Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders surprised just about everyone when they drafted Leatherwood with the 17th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. But to nobody’s surprise, he did not live up to the first-round draft selection.
He had a 45.0 PFF grade in his lone season with the Raiders, and he was cut on Tuesday.
However, before cutting him, the Raiders, according to NFL Network, tried trading him and “got 32 nos.”
RB Marlon Mack – Houston Texans
The Texans brought in Mack after he missed most of the 2020 and 2021 seasons after tearing his Achilles, but with rookie Dameon Pierce impressing in camp and veteran Rex Burkhead in the fold, it didn’t make sense to keep Mack.
Pierce is now the frontrunner to be the team’s lead back, with Burkhead likely taking a third-down role.
TE O.J. Howard – Buffalo Bills
Howard was a first-round draft pick in 2017 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had a decent rookie season, but he failed to improve very much from there and was riddled with several injuries.
The Bills signed him in March to seemingly back up touchdown machine Dawson Knox, and they guaranteed him $3 million. It seems that Buffalo was not impressed with his work in training camp, but Howard could still be sought out by several teams amid his release.
RB Sony Michel – Miami Dolphins
Michel played in all 17 games for the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams last year.
Miami brought in Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds in the offseason, both of whom have been RB1s before. But seeing a two-time Super Bowl champion cut over, say, Myles Gaskin — who has rushed for more than 600 yards once (last year with 612) — was a bit surprising.
QBs Cooper Rush (and Will Grier) – Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys do need to place Tyron Smith and James Washington on injured reserve, so it’s likely the Cowboys can bring one of them back after that roster move is made.
However, at the moment, the Cowboys currently do not have a backup behind Dak Prescott and are risking losing both Rush and Grier in the waiver wire.
Unlikely? Sure. But if both are gone, the Cowboys will be scrambling.
S Tashaun Gipson – San Francisco 49ers
It’s not very often you cut someone just a week after signing them in an emergency situation, but alas.
The Niners signed Gipson, the 2014 Pro-Bowler, last week after a Jimmie Ward injury, but they cut him Tuesday. This occurred even with Ward going on IR.
San Fran did reconstruct Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract, so perhaps they can spend more for more talent elsewhere (Landon Collins is available), but for now, they are in the same spot as they were right when Ward got injured.
DL Carlos Watkins – Dallas Cowboys
After an underwhelming four years with the Houston Texans, the Dallas Cowboys took a flier on the lineman last season.
He then put up career highs in tackles and tackles for loss, and he played in at least 15 games in a second-consecutive season in 2021.
But the former fourth-rounder, who started 14 of his 15 games played last year, didn’t make the final 53.