Reality hit today in the NFL, as the dreams of many young men ended. Most have played this game since they were in grade school, and on this final day of August 2014, were told that their playing days are over. Some are fresh out of college and need to choose another career path. Others have made their living on the bottom of rosters, shuffling from city to city to fill in for injuries and playing special teams. A few more, are veterans at the end of the line. It’s a difficult day for the players, coaches, and general managers on both ends of the this heartbreaking news.
The Giants first two moves came on Thursday night, after the final preseason game after New England, when they moved suspended players cornerback Jayron Hosley and guard Eric Herman to the reserve/suspended list. Twenty additional players will need to be released or moved to a non-roster list before 4 PM today in order to meet the league mandated roster limit of 53 players. The names started rolling in early this morning, as many of you followed on the Giants360 Twitter feed. Twitter has brought new life to NFL transactions as a high percentage of the players have accounts and often tweet out their release prior to it’s official announcement. Corey Washington announced that he made the roster, to the delight of Giant fans who he captivated during the preseason.
The biggest name on the Giants waiver wire is quarterback Curtis Painter. He was beaten out for the backup job by Ryan Nassib, allowing the team to only keep two quarterbacks and enjoy the additional roster flexibility that gives. With the mounting injuries on the offensive line, the additional spot will be needed.
Tight end Kellen Davis was one of the best blocking right ends on the Giants roster and thought to be the committee member to handle that responsibility. He was released this morning, the first casualty of the Giants360 projected 53 man roster. When it was announced that fullback Henry Hynoski’s injury was a shoulder bruise and he would not miss significant time, it meant the likely release of fullback Dan Conner. He was let go this morning.
Cornerback Bennett Jackson played well during the preseason, but was the victim of the numbers game. The sixth round pick in last May’s draft was released. Expect him to be added to the practice squad if he clears waivers. Defensive tackle Kelcey Quarles tweeted out his release and the Giants intent to bring him back as a member of the practice squad. That pronouncement, given that he must clear waivers first, can’t have thrilled the team. Linebacker Dan Fox was also released and is another candidate for the practice squad.
Defensive end Israel Idonije enjoyed a long NFL career. Excelling at special teams and providing some pass rush, Idonije has been in the league since 2004, mostly with the Chicago Bears, and accumulated 29 sacks while starting only 50 games. He hoped to catch on for one more season with the Giants, but it was not to be as he was released today. Idonije likely reached the point where his veteran minimum salary surpasses what the coaches see as his value on the roster, a sad, but too often true reality in the salary cap era of the NFL.
Wide receiver/kick returner Trindon Holliday’s hamstring did not allow him to practice at all during training camp. Mario Manningham was trying to come back from a knee injury suffered during his time with the San Fransisco 49ers, and strained his calf on Thursday night playing against the New England Patriots. Both were placed on injured reserve and will likely receive injury settlements and be released outright at some point in the not so distant future.
Defensive end Jordan Stanton had two sacks this preseason and showed a knack for making big plays. It wasn’t enough to justify a spot on the 53 man roster, and the rookie free agent was waived. He is almost certainly a practice squad candidate.
The Giants were stacked at running back with Michael Cox, Peyton Hillis and Kendall Gaskins vying for roster spots behind starter Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams. Gaskins and Cox lost out to the frequently injured Hillis and were given their release. Both are strong candidates for the practice squad upon clearing waivers.
Also released, offensive lineman Jamaal Johnson-Webb, offensive tackle Adam Gress, and guard Mark Asper. If you’re an offensive lineman getting released by the Giants today, there is a high probability you are not of NFL caliber. Defensive back Thomas Gordon, wide receiver Julian Talley, and cornerback Chandler Fenner were also among those players waived today.
Linebacker Terrell Manning, who’s morning tweet led followers to believe he had made the team was among the last cuts made right at the 4 PM. Offensive tackle Roger Gaines, who played well in the preseason, was waived injured with a shoulder ailment.
The Giants activated linebacker Jon Beason, who had been on the PUP list since injuring his foot during the team’s organized team activities. He is expected to begin practicing on Monday and if all goes well, will start at middle linebacker against Detroit on September 8th.
There are several roster surprises, Adrien Robinson, the talented, but inconsistent third year tight end will have another chance to play to his potential, rookie free agent defensive end Kerry Wynn, and oft injured defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, who has shown the ability to get penetration when healthy. News of Kuhn’s making the initial 53 man roster broke first on the Giants360 Twitter account. If you’re not following, it’s worth the add as we tweet out news, notes, rumors, and will be live tweeting games during the season.
48 of the 53 players projected by Giants360.com made the roster. Hillis was not on the projection, along with Kuhn, Robinson, Wynn, and Center/Guard Dallas Reynolds. The team will be scouring the waiver wire for offensive linemen or a tight end that will upgrade the talent on the team. Expect some additional roster churning between now, and week 2. Keep in mind that after week 1, veterans can be signed without guaranteeing their salary for the entire season.
Look for an analysis of the roster as it stands after today’s cuts before the end of the weekend on Giants360.com