All NFL teams had to cut down their preseason roster to 53 players by 4 pm on Tuesday, August 30. However, this doesn’t mean that they were finalized as moves for PUP, injured reserve, and injury settlements changed the looks of each roster.
The AFC East saw plenty of injuries during this preseason and several star players were either injured or were not quite ready to return to start the season. Below are all the notable AFC East injury-related transactions and what they mean for Week 1 and beyond.
Click on your team below to go right to the section.
Physically Unable to Perform
CB Tre’Davious White (Left ACL tear)The biggest decision of the cut-down day, White moved to the reserve/PUP to miss at least the first four games of the season. GM Brandon Beane had stated that they were trying to “run out the clock” when it came to his decision, ultimately giving him more time to rehab as he comes back from a left ACL tear on Thanksgiving.
To read the full article with more context that went into the decision to place Tre’Davious White on PUP and other Bills injury details, please click the link here.
WR Marquez Stevenson (Right foot surgery)
Stevenson continues to rehab back from right foot surgery, officially being placed on injured reserve Thursday, and set to miss at least the first four games of the season. Considering that we don’t have an exact injury designation, it’s still hard to determine a timeline.
He had the surgery during the first week of August based on reports along with being in a boot and on a scooter. He is set to miss the first four games, putting him eight weeks out from surgery just ahead of Week 5.
If this was something like a Jones fracture, he will require at least another month of rehab to lessen concerns for re-injury, putting him somewhere into early-mid November. Add in the fact that he doesn’t have a roster spot to return to until there is a corresponding move, he could sit there all season like he did last year until they needed him.
Stevenson isn’t even with the team at the moment as he rehabs in Houston.
Until we get an exact injury designation or additional information, it’s a shot in the dark to estimate when he returns.
DT Eli Ankou (Left hamstring)
Ankou left after one play against the Carolina Panthers last Friday, injuring his left hamstring. While he was iffy about making the roster, the team elected to give him an injury settlement instead.
What this does is that they give him money that he would have earned while on the roster rehabbing. This absolves the team of responsibility while he works back. We don’t know the number of weeks they speculated that he requires to get fully healthy. Could be two weeks, could be six weeks.
As Sal mentioned above, he can return to the team if they wish to re-sign him after that time period plus three weeks. If Ankou is healthier sooner than that, he is free to sign elsewhere immediately, but he must pass a physical, which prevents him from rushing back too quickly. He is too talented to not play again this season, but he may find his way back to Buffalo eventually.
WR Isaiah McKenzie (Undisclosed)
Very little is known regarding the injury that Isaiah McKenzie sustained last Saturday at practice following the Carolina Panthers game. He left with training staff and then has only been seen working off to the side.
They haven’t ruled out McKenzie for Week 1, but they will have to see how he progresses.
Monday will be the first time we get an injury report that gives us an idea of what he is dealing with.
WR Jamison Crowder (Undisclosed)
Crowder was off to the side on Tuesday working out with the other injured players. This could have been a veteran rest day or something else. We will know more Monday.
OT Tommy Doyle (Right foot)
Doyle continues to work off to the side as he recovers from a foot injury sustained in the first preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. The fact that he wasn’t placed on injured reserve supports what the team stated that it wasn’t a major injury, but he will need at least a limited practice Monday to have a chance to play next Thursday.
TE Quintin Morris (Right Hamstring)
Morris tweaked his right hamstring starting a route in practice on Monday. Below is the instance when it occurred.
Morris later confirmed that it was a hamstring tweak, but downplayed the severity.
His practice participation next week will determine his availability for Thursday. Considering he is TE3, he could either be inactive altogether or be solely on special teams. The team has played players in the past after hamstring strains when the snaps are limited.
DT Tim Settle (Calf)
Settle has not returned to practice since suffering a calf injury against the Indianapolis Colts. By the time Week 1 kicks off, he will be nearly a month removed from the injury, typically ample time to recover. His practice participation Monday will be interesting to watch.
S Jordan Poyer (Left elbow)
Poyer continues to ramp up in his return to practice, doing all sorts of work to be ready for Week 1. He is still wearing a brace at times on the field following the left hyperextension of his elbow, but he doesn’t appear to have any limitations.
I had thought that he would not wear the brace in-game, but it may come down to how he feels and if he needs it just to protect himself for the first game. Either way, this isn’t something that should linger.
New England Patriots
The Patriots had a slew of injury-related transactions as they performed their cut down to 53. Below are details on all the injury settlements, moves to IR, and injuries to watch.
DE Henry Anderson (Undisclosed)
Anderson was initially placed on IR Tuesday prior to the cut-down day, later released with an injury settlement with those details not publicly available.
WR Kristian Wilkerson (Concussion)
After suffering a concussion during joint practices with the Carolina Panthers, Wilkerson was placed on IR Tuesday prior to the cut-down day. It has not been announced yet, but I expect an injury settlement so that he may be free to sign with another team later on. If he does not, he will spend the entire season on IR.
WR Tyquan Thorton (Right collarbone fracture)
Thornton was officially placed on IR following the cut-down day, making him eligible to return after a minimum four-game stint. He underwent surgery for a right collarbone fracture suffered in the first preseason game.
The rehab and healing are fairly straightforward. He could return as soon as Week 5 or 6, but depending on how his pain and shoulder range of motion is, they may delay his return.
He will be in cardiovascular shape while he rehabs but may need a week or two of practice to get his legs back under him.
CB Malcolm Butler (Hip)
Butler was given an injury settlement as highlighted below following his hip injury following the first preseason game.
Based on the wording from Ben Volin, this appeared to be about an eight-week injury to recover from. Considering how quickly they placed him on IR with a hip designation, I had initially thought of a labral tear, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
He is free to sign with any team once he can pass a physical and if he wishes to come back to the Patriots, he must wait three additional weeks per the agreement to return.
OT Isaiah Wynn (Undisclosed)
Wynn continues to miss practice with an undisclosed issue, though this may be more contract related from what has been reported. He was coming off a hip injury during the off-season, though the specifics of the injury are not known. Watching the practice reports regarding a designation and availability will be worth noting.
G Andrew Steuber (Torn hamstring)
Steuber was placed on the NFI list due to a torn hamstring that forced him to miss OTA’s and training camp. Based on that timeline, he likely suffered the injury sometime in early May, potentially after the draft.
It’s unknown whether he required surgery to repair the injury, but placing him on the NFI list, allows the Patriots to bring him back after four games if he is ready. Rehab from a torn hamstring can be anywhere from four to six months(check on this). Considering the depth issues that the Patriots have this year, having a guy to turn to already in the building could be needed later on.
WR Ty Montgomery (Right ankle)
Montgomery has been out of practice the past several days since suffering an ankle injury against the Las Vegas Raiders. This occurred on a four-yard carry in the first quarter with 6:48 left. Montgomery ran up the middle and was caught from the outside and behind, then tackled from his left, further pushing him over to the right while his ankle was still trapped.
Based on the mechanism of injury, there is a strong suspicion of a high-ankle sprain. These injuries are notoriously difficult to come back from quickly. While each high-ankle is different, they can take upwards of six weeks to fully recover from.
Week 1 appears to be in doubt considering Montgomery has not practiced since the injury, not even seen on the sidelines. He may also not feel normal until the end of September. It’s possible that Montgomery will begin practicing in a limited role and be deemed questionable for at least Week 1, potentially Week 2 but ultimately not play.
The team does have their normal complement of running backs to choose from and not putting Montgomery out there can only benefit the team. Even when he does return, his production will not be that of what it once was for the first few games. He will have trouble pushing off and cutting to the right side, limiting his versatility.
Take note of when he has at least two full practices consecutively, that will provide an idea of when he returns to play.
WR Jacobi Myers (Left leg)
Meyers exited the Raiders game early with what is now known as a left leg injury. He was spotted with a full compression sleeve on the leg, suggesting a quadricep or hamstring issue.
Reports appear to be positive regarding his availability for Week 1 and two weeks of rest/rehab could certainly allow him to be ready then. I expect to see him be limited on the practice report at some point, but potentially play Week 1.
The Dolphins appear rather healthy following several injury-related transactions to get down to the final 53-man roster. There are several questions regarding the status of Byron Jones and Jaylen Waddle, but it appears the team has an effective game plan in place to manage their concerns.
Physically Unable to Perform
CB Byron Jones (Left Achilles/ankle)
Jones was officially moved to the reserve/PUP list Tuesday as he continued to work back from an Achilles/ankle procedure that originally took place in March with a two-month recovery window.
He is now six months out from the procedure and still not ready to play despite saying that he would be ready for Week 1. There are few details as to what the procedure was, but something about the injury doesn’t make sense.
We may find out details later, but even when he does come back, it’s likely that he will still have some rust to knock off.
CB D’Angelo Ross (Undisclosed)
Ross was sent to IR with an undisclosed injury on Tuesday. It remains to be seen if he stays there all season or leaves with an injury settlement.
LB Darius Hodge (Undisclosed)
Hodge was also sent to IR with an undisclosed injury on Tuesday. It remains to be seen if he remains or leaves with an injury settlement.
LB Clayton Fejedelem (Undisclosed)
Fejedelem initially made the 53-man roster before getting moved to injured reserve, set to miss the first four games. At this time, the injury is undisclosed, but I expect that will change shortly, especially when he returns.
LB Calvin Munson (Undisclosed)
Munson was unable to participate during most of the training camp after starting on the NFI list, getting removed on August 9.
Regrettably, he suffered another undisclosed injury, putting him on IR, ending his season unless he reaches an injury settlement.
CB Mackensie Alexander (Groin/Core muscle repair)
Alexander was released with an injury settlement back on September 1 following a groin injury in his only preseason game. He was originally signed to be the replacement for Trill Williams who tore his ACL in the first preseason game.
His IG story revealed that he underwent surgery earlier this week for what appears to be a core muscle repair. This is based on the location of the surgical site, exercises, and original injury designation.
Depending on the extent of damage, he could return as anywhere from three to twelve weeks, giving a wide possibility. If he were to return to the Dolphins, he would be required to wait an additional three weeks.
WR Jaylen Waddle (Right leg)
Waddle continues to work through some right leg tightness with a notable compression sleeve on his right leg.
This would suggest that he could be possibly dealing with a hamstring or quadricep based on the full length of the compression sleeve. He hasn’t been limited often by the issue, but something to monitor.
It’s worth noting that he was able to perform without it in the clips below, but this may be something to watch moving forward.
CB Nik Needham (Left wrist)
Needham suffered a left wrist injury back on August 20 and is considered day-to-day. This may be a garden variety sprain, but considering that he is inserted in the starting lineup due to Byron Jones.
LB Andrew Van Ginkel (Appendix removal)
Van Ginkel had his appendix removed on August 25 after missing several practices. Fortunately, the appendix did not rupture which makes his return to play in Week 1 a near certainty.
New York Jets
Despite a tough preseason that saw several major contributors go down, the Jets appear to be on the mend with some positive news on the horizon. The status of Zack Wilson’s return has not been determined, but he appears to be close to ramping back up to play. Several injury transactions and moves are detailed below.
FB Nick Bawden (Undisclosed)
Bawden is set to miss the rest of the regular season after being placed on injured reserve prior to Tuesday’s cut-down day. The only way he can return this season is if he reaches an injury settlement.
DE Vinny Curry (Hamstring)
Curry was placed on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury, missing at least the first four games. To provide context, Curry has been battling this injury all training camp and appears to have never gotten truly better. This time spent on IR will allow him to get fully right and be able to prepare for the rigors of the position.
He also missed all of last season with blood clots that developed following spleen removal surgery. When he does return to the field, this will mark his first regular-season action since Week 17 of the 2020 season.
CB DJ Reed (Knee soreness)
Reed has been working through knee soreness since August 26, ultimately missing the preseason finale against the New York Giants.
He doesn’t have a history of knee issues dating back to his time in Seattle. The extra time to rest prior to Week 1 should allow this issue to be minimized moving forward.
QB Zack Wilson (Right knee bone bruise/meniscus)
Wilson continues to battle back from the bone bruise and meniscus tear suffered back on August 13. He appears to be progressing well in his rehab, walking without a limp and without bracing on the knee.
However, there have not been any reports that he has begun doing football drills or participating in any practice.
HC Robert Saleh even noted that Wilson will need one full week of practice before he can start.
It’s difficult to say when he will return to play as the Jets have been marred by injury in recent seasons. They can’t afford to put Wilson out there if there is a shred of doubt about his health. What would be concerning is getting the knee angry and swollen due to asking too much of it too soon by returning.
Knowing what is currently known, I suspect that he begins practicing for Week 1 but ramps up to play somewhere around Week 2 or 3. This is estimated barring setbacks or additional information not publicly known, but as long as he can perform all his positional demands and not have soreness/swelling, then he can return.
The AFC East had a lot of turnover and several key players missing for Week 1. Rosters will evolve and change based on positional needs and injuries, but as practice reports come out, expect some clarity of several of the injuries noted above. Be sure to check back for the latest news and updates!
Top Photo Credit: ThePhinsider.com