Labor Day weekend is a time of optimism for many NFL players, with the regular season just days away. But for several others, it’s a less fortunate occasion, with teams paring their rosters to 53 players.
Backup quarterbacks took center stage among those on the outs with their respective teams, as former first-round draft pick Josh Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick of the Cardinals in 2018, was released by the Dolphins. That means Rosen will be on his third team if he signs elsewhere, a dramatic fall from grace for the former UCLA quarterback. With Miami selecting Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick last April, Rosen’s roster spot was precarious at best. The news of his ouster became official Saturday, although the team indicated he would be released a day earlier.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores on Saturday called Rosen “immensely talented” and he “competed” well against Tagovailoa and potential Week 1 starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Rosen had some company on the unemployment list. The Jaguars released Mike Glennon, another former Cardinals quarterback who previously started for the Bears. Glennon was looking for a backup slot behind Gardner Minshew, but the Jaguars elected to keep rookie Jake Luton, a sixth-round pick out of Oregon State.
The Lions said goodbye to Matthew Stafford’s backup, David Blough, who filled in for the final five games last season after Stafford suffered fractured bones in his back.
Former Dolphins and Texans running back Lamar Miller was released by the Patriots on Saturday. Miller was returning from a torn ACL and hoped to compete with former first-round pick Sony Michel, who has recovered from a foot injury.
Seahawks safety Shaquem Griffin, one of the NFL’s most inspirational stories in 2018 when he made the team despite having his left hand amputated as a child, was released. There’s a good chance Seattle will bring him back for its practice squad.
For many players released on Saturday, it likely won’t be the end of their NFL careers. Practice squads expanded this year from 12 players to 16 so teams would be able to call up more players in the event they lost ones on the regular roster to COVID-19. The NFL also loosened rules to allow more veteran players to be on the practice squad.
Watson gets new $160M deal
While hundreds of players fighting for roster spots didn’t make the final cut, a handful of star players agreed to lucrative deals. That starts with Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, a 2017 first-round pick out of Clemson who agreed Saturday to a four-year, $160 million contract extension. The deal includes a $27 million signing bonus and puts him behind Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes as the NFL’s second highest paid quarterback.
Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen also struck it rich Saturday, agreeing to a four-year, $80 million deal. The Chargers signed star pass rusher Joey Bosa to a five-year, $135 million contract extension earlier this offseason.
Bills All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White agreed to a four-year extension worth a reported $70 million.
Mr. Smith stays in Washington
Quarterback Alex Smith got some more good news in his comeback bid, as Washington kept the 36-year-old on the roster as a backup to Dwayne Haskins. Smith is attempting to come back from a badly broken right leg, which was complicated by nerve damage and infections that nearly resulted in amputation and at one point threatened his life.