Roster cutdowns took place on Tuesday to get each team down to 53 players by 4 p.m. for Week 1. Many players were outright cut, forced to find a new home, or wait for a new opportunity. Others stayed where they were which required roster gymnastics to make the active roster and then placed on injured reserve. Some simply moved from active PUP to reserve PUP to begin the season and miss a minimum of four games.
Injury settlements could also still happen for the handful of players who were sent to injured reserve prior to Tuesday. As each AFC East team heads into Week 1, they have a far clearer picture of the players they are working with as each march towards postseason success.
Regular Season Injuries
LB Terrel Bernard (Hamstring)
Bernard is set to return following missing a significant chunk of training camp with a hamstring strain, suffered two days before the first preseason game. He has flashed at times in the limited reps observed at practice, but he appears to be on track to play in Week 1.
It remains to be seen whether the hamstring will bother him later on; the Bills do an excellent job at minimizing the issues historically. He is at risk of suffering another hamstring strain right now, but since he has had several weeks to rehab, it is less likely than if this happened in-season. He needs a strong start to the season after ending training camp with plenty of questions.
LB Dorian Williams (Left calf)
Williams missed all of practice last week as he worked through a left calf strain suffered in the Steelers preseason game.
Sitting him out of the last week of practice was the smarter move as he needs to continue to transition to the pro game, letting his body adapt.
WR Khalil Shakir (Ribs)
After suffering an injury to his ribs against the Steelers, Shakir sat out all last week and the Bears game with “sore ribs”. Despite it being the preseason, it’s very likely he suffered a more notable injury such as a rib fracture the team is downplaying.
Either way, he should be healed enough to play in Week 1 without major restrictions.
G Connor McGovern (Right knee)
McGovern returned to practice Wednesday after suffering a knee injury the prior week when he “banged knees” during a drill. He sat and watched the remainder of practice with a sleeve on, but did not leave.
In the video above, you can see how the right knee is braced up and the struggles he has in driving off the knee. While his first game is not until September 11, it may be a tall task to get ready and play at a high level against the New York Jets defensive line.
I do not believe this injury is anything more than an MCL sprain or even a PCL/LCL sprain, but it should not linger past several more weeks. We will have to see how he looks over the next week in practice, but I am not hopeful that he will suit up in Week 1.
LB Baylon Spector (Right hamstring)
Spector was placed on injured reserve to start the season due to his right hamstring strain suffered against the Chicago Bears last week. While the injury does appear to be moderate, it was also poorly timed, preventing Spector from contributing early. He will miss the first four games of the season and be eligible to play Week 5, though he has a 21-day practice window to work within.
His return will be more predicated on when there is a corresponding injury and when the linebacking corps needs him. When he does return, there may be a chance he still isn’t 100 percent, but much healthier than if he tried to play through the injury, missing only a game or two.
WR Justin Shorter (Hamstring)
Shorter’s injury was a surprise move, something the Bills seem to do every year. He played in 35 snaps last Saturday which means finding the hamstring strain in there difficult. I fully believe that he has an actual injury, but this was also a way to keep a draft pick around as he developed.
He did battle a hamstring strain at Florida last year, it’s possible this latest injury is related, but unable to prove. I’m willing to bet that his injury is less severe than Spector’s, but this is an opportunity to bring him to the active roster when depth is needed. I do expect him to be fully healthy upon his return.
QB Matt Barkley (Right elbow)
After suffering an injury to his throwing elbow against the Steelers, Barkley was placed on injured reserve just prior to the cut-down day. Had he not been given an injury settlement, he would have been paid his full salary and spent the season on injured reserve. At this point, it appears he suffered a UCL sprain and needs extra time to fully recover before considering a return to playing.
Instead, he has been released and can sign with any team immediately, pending he passes a physical. If he were to re-sign with the Bills, he would need to wait whatever the timeframe on the injury was plus three weeks. If/when he does return, he will very likely be signed to the practice squad.
DE Von Miller (Right ACL)
Brandon Beane said it was a tough decision whether to activate Miller from PUP prior to the cut-down day, but considering what he means to this team, they need him for the playoffs. A 34-year-old player coming off a second ACL tear should not be rushing back.
While there is no confirmation, there is also a strong chance that Miller suffered some type of setback during his recovery. He was not seen practicing off to the side for nearly three weeks and when he did return, he was doing more basic drills than when he was last seen. It’s very possible he suffered some type of muscle strain either on the same or opposite side. Had he been pushing to return in Week 1, these types of compensation injuries could have lingered all season, robbing Miller of what makes him great. He is eligible to return in Week 5, though the team may need to give him more of a ramp-up period.
Regular Season Injuries
RB De’Von Achane (Left shoulder)
Achane suffered a left shoulder injury that appears to be consistent with an AC joint sprain. This occurred against the Houston Texans in the preseason. He has since been designated as week-to-week.
There will be a better idea of what Week 1 looks like for Achane when injury reports come out, but returning to play from an AC joint in two weeks wouldn’t be unheard of, especially for a younger player.
RB Salvon Ahmed (Neck)
Ahmed took a shot to his neck against the Jaguars and is day-to-day as of Thursday.
OT Terron Armstead (Right knee)
Armstead continues to rehab through a right knee injury back on August 17 as the result of a player falling on his leg. He did require arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason that placed him on PUP to begin the season on his right knee.
I believe at this point, the team is just trying to ensure Armstead is fully healthy rather than practicing through nagging injuries. He was a Pro Bowl player despite missing games and suffering at least four different injuries. Despite this scare, I do not believe that this injury will linger on the injury report and he should be close to full health upon return.
OL Liam Eichenburg (Midsection)
Eichenberg continues to sit out of practice for a midsection injury and it was not clear when he suffered his injury.
CB Elijah Campbell (Knee)
Campbell suffered a significant knee injury that was not an ACL tear in the second quarter against the Jaguars. Looking at the game film, he got hurt on special teams, but the camera pans away and doesn’t provide a clear view of what exactly happened. He was not placed on injured reserve which is positive but further information must be known before a realistic timeline can be given.
CB Justin Bethel (Undisclosed)
Bethel continues to work through an injury that caused him to miss all of last week.
RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (Finger/midsection)
The decision to place Wilson on injured reserve to begin the season was interesting as he was working through two separate injuries with his finger and midsection. It’s not clear when he suffered these injuries, possibly against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week.
Despite these injuries not appearing to be too severe, especially considering the location, comments made by Mike McDaniel suggest these issues are more problematic. McDaniel used the phrase “some finger issues” implying that more than one finger is injured. Considering how important hands are to a wide receiver, not having a reliable receiver makes life difficult. His midsection injury is also curious, but no specific details.
Based on the location of the injuries, I do expect him to return shortly after Week 4, barring any surprise updates.
OL Robert Jones (MCL sprain)
Jones suffered an MCL sprain in his knee back on August 20 and was expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks at the time. His placement on IR was more of a formality to free up a roster spot.
CB Jalen Ramsey (Left meniscus repair)
Ramsey is one month out from his meniscus repair surgery on July 28 and continues to rehab off to the side. He is expected to miss until December at the earliest. Even when he does return, he will still need to take time to ramp up to speed.
Even when he does return, there is no guarantee that he will resemble anything close to what he was pre-knee injury. He should return to form in 2024, but he may struggle out of the game or look pedestrian.
TE Eric Saubert (Undisclosed)
Saubert is working through an injury that was supposed to take “a week or two” but they elected to give him the full four weeks off to get fully healthy.
CB Keion Crossen (Shoulder)
Crossen suffered a “freak injury” in practice and will be lost for the season per Mike McDaniel.
CB Nik Needham (Achilles)
Needham is still working his way back from an Achilles tear in Week 6 of last season. It’s not a surprise that he is still on reserve PUP, but he can take his time to rehab and come back when he can truly perform, especially at a difficult position such as cornerback.
New York Jets
Regular Season Injuries
DE Carl Lawson (Back)
Lawson returned to practice this week after missing the prior three weeks with a back injury. It’s not clear the extent of the injury, but this isn’t back soreness at this point. He likely has something that has the potential to linger all season unless it worsens to the point of injured reserve or it somehow gets better. I am very pessimistic about his health right now, but head coach Robert Saleh feels otherwise as noted below.
RB Israel Abanikanda (Right Thigh)
Abanikanda continues to work through a right thigh contusion suffered against the Giants last week. He continues to ramp up his practice workload in preparation for Week 1.
G Wes Schweitzer (Lower body)
Schweitzer was limited last week, limping off the field on August 22. He was able to return but has not been a full go at practice over the last week until recently.
WR Allen Lazard (Shoulder)
Lazard had a hard landing on his shoulder on August 23, suffering an AC joint sprain and missing the final preseason game. He has since returned to practice earlier this week and appears on track to play in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills.
OT Carter Warren (Undisclosed)
Warren has missed most of training camp with an undisclosed injury after playing in the Hall of Fame game and was placed on injured reserve Thursday. He did suffer a meniscus tear during his final year at Pitt, but it’s unclear whether this is related. He can return in Week 5.
TE Kenny Yeboah (Hamstring)
Yoboah was placed on short-term injured reserve with a hamstring strain suffered against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He can return in Week 5.
CB Jimmy Moreland (Hand)
Moreland suffered a hand injury in the final preseason game against the New York Giants. He was placed on injured reserve prior to cut-down day which means that he will spend the season on injured reserve unless he were to receive an injury settlement to find another team.
S Jarrick Bernard-Converse (Undisclosed)
Bernard-Converse moved to reserve PUP after starting the season on active PUP with an undisclosed injury.
New England Patriots
Regular Season Injuries
WR Demario Douglas (Shoulder)
Douglas has been limited dating back to August 23 with a now-revealed shoulder injury. He appears to be doing more in practice and Week 1 does not appear to be in jeopardy.
WR DeVante Parker (Undisclosed)
Missing practice this week dating back to August 30, he is reported to be okay, but not having one of the top wide receivers available to practice is always newsworthy.
OT Riley Reiff (Right knee)
Reiff was rolled up on in the final preseason game which typically suggests an MCL sprain or high-ankle sprain. There should be more of a clarification on the injury next week and a timeline to return, but he remains out for the time being.
OT Cole Strange (Left knee)
Strange returned to practice on August 29 after going down with a knee injury back on July 31. The extent of the injury has not been revealed, but he appears on track to play in Week 1 reading the room.
CB Jon Jones (Undisclosed)
Jones missed most of training camp with an undisclosed injury dating back to August 3. He returned to practice on August 27 though has still been limited. He has repeatedly said he will be ready to play Week 1, but missing several weeks of training camp is nothing to ignore either.
WR Tyquan Thornton (Shoulder)
Thornton will begin the regular season on injured reserve with yet another shoulder injury, this time a possible AC joint sprain. This came as the result of landing hard on his shoulder while trying to catch a pass from Mac Jones in practice back on August 19. He will be eligible to return in Week 5.
CB Isaiah Bolden (Concussion)
Bolden was placed on a backboard and immobilized to leave the field after a scary hit in the preseason game versus the Green Bay Packers. Fortunately, he had all feeling and movement in his extremities and was later diagnosed with a concussion. He was placed on injured reserve prior to roster cut downs which means his season is done unless he were to agree to an injury settlement. There is typically a window when this can occur, but it would not surprise me if he did agree to terms to find a new home soon.
OT Connor McDermott (Undisclosed)
McDermott missed the final two preseason games with an undisclosed injury and has not been an active participant as of late. His season is officially over unless he agrees to an injury settlement.
CB Cody Davis (Knee)
Davis is still working through a non-contact knee injury suffered in Week 6 last year. There still hasn’t been any additional information as to the extent of his injury, but he will miss the first four weeks as he continues to recover.
DE Trey Flowers (Undisclosed)
Flowers signed with the Patriots on August 8 and immediately went to active PUP before the team transitioned him to reserve PUP to begin the season. It’s not clear what his injury is.
OT Calvin Anderson (Illness)
Anderson was officially activated off the non-football injury Tuesday as he battled through an illness during training camp. He has not revealed what the exact illness was but it was serious enough to potentially affect his football career. This will be one to watch when there are updates after he returns to play.
Top Photo Credit: Phinsider.com