The 2022 NFL preseason is in the back-up and now all 32 teams have finalized their regular season roster. “Finished” is a loose word here as the lineups will be adjusted from now until the end of the year. But we now have a clear picture of what most clubs will look like when they go into week 1. Here are 32 key points from Tuesday’s deadline for final cuts:
1. The pressure is on Trey Lance. Actions speak louder than words, and the 49ers are happy to welcome Jimmy Garoppolo back with a revised contract, suggesting Kyle Shanahan may not be able to completely extinguish his often-injured flame. Yes, quarterback insurance is necessary. But imagine you’re Lance, now that your pastor is back in the room trying not only to win games, but to win everyone in and around the team.
2. The Eagles basically upgraded all of their positions after trading for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, the feisty ex-Saints closing corner. Gardner-Johnson will slide in as starting safety in a secondary that will also include Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Maybe it’s not wrong to join the Philly hype.
3. It’s James Cook season in Buffalo, with the release of pass catching specialist Duke Johnson. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss remain the best traditional running backs, but the rookie is now ready for a legitimate role.
4. Dameon Pierce is even more capable of making noise at RB, which includes former Colts starter Marlon Mack. The rookie Florida product should be an easy pick to take on the top job, with Rex Burkhead complementing.
5. Malik Willis’ preseason electricity was not for nothing, with the Titans cutting Logan Woodside as Ryan Tannehill’s best backup. Quietly, this situation bears some resemblance to the Lance-Garoppolo pairing of 2021. It’s probably only a matter of time until Tennessee is itching for Willis’ athleticism in the middle.
6. The Cowboys don’t appreciate the backup QB position. After slashing all three of Dak Prescott’s reserves (Cooper Rush, Will Grier, Ben DiNucci), they reportedly plan to bring back at least one as soon as they can move other veterans into the injured reserve. That means they trust that they will be available, which means that everyone in the NFL thinks very little of them. That’s fine if you think a long-term loss to Dak means the season is doomed anyway. Still, legit No. 2s can go a long way.
7. Josh McDaniels doesn’t care about the Jon Gruden-Mike Mayock era investments. Cutting Alex Leatherwood, the 2021 first-rounder, is admission of a bad bet at right tackle, but trading Trayvon Mullen, a 24-year-old starting cornerback, is quite the endorsement of a remade Rock secondary header. Ya Sin.
8. The Jaguars really do have a deeper receiving corps, as evidenced by the release of Laquon Treadwell, who emerged in 2021 as a favorite target of Trevor Lawrence.
9. The Dolphins need extra effort from former first-rounder Noah Igbinoghene with starting corner Byron Jones for at least four games due to an Achilles tendon injury. Or just more great plays by Xavien Howard and Jevon Holland.
10. Speaking of major CB injuries in the AFC East, it’s time for Kaiir Elam to make an early impact in Buffalo, where All-Pro Tre’Davious White is also guaranteed to miss at least four games while recovering from an ACL. tear.
11. The recording of Brian Robinson Jr. in the commanders’ active roster, just days after he was hit by gunfire in an attempted carjacking, confirms that he is on track to play a major role in their offense. The rookie seemingly overtook Antonio Gibson as Washington’s primary ball carrier as the summer progressed.
12. The Panthers are built to play rough, dink-and-dunk football. They already had Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore, and now Laviska Shenault has been released from Jacksonville via trading as a spirited outlet for Baker Mayfield.
13. Echoing their NFC East brethren in Dallas, the Giants roll the dice in terms of QB health and depth, cutting the tightrope through Davis Webb’s second stint in town to leave only a deranged Tyrod Taylor behind Daniel Jones. On the other hand, Webb could very well return to the practice squad.
14. Josh Gordon’s NFL career could be over after his release from the Chiefs, who were eager to have WR help this offseason after dealing with Tyreek Hill. Now 31, he has caught all 12 passes in 17 games in the past three seasons.
15. Tyler Johnson’s career could just take off after the former fifth-round pick was a surprise from a crowded Buccaneers WR room. A major threat coming from Minnesota, he thinks he’s a popular target as a development option after two relatively quiet years in Tampa Bay.
16. It’s safe to count on decent workloads for both Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert in Miami, where the Dolphins parted ways with Sony Michel before the ex-Patriots and Rams starter made a single regular season shot. Edmonds has been paid good money to leave Arizona in the spring, and Mostert has a history of working under Mike McDaniel.
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17. While RBs are as expendable as ever (see: Michel, Sony), the veteran market has a new plug-and-play option in Phillip Lindsay, which the Colts behind Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines couldn’t crack. With RB2 or RB3 it can be much worse.
18. Justin Fields still has an ugly WRs corps outside of Darnell Mooney, and Chicago’s seven in the 53-man roster just proves it, with Velus Jones Jr., Byron Pringle and N’Keal Harry – none of them overly encouraging on their own – – all beat up and candidates to hit IR.
19. The Jets were not happy with the trade offers they may have gotten for Denzel Mims, the former second-rounder who came out in the preseason final. But there’s still time for them to dangle him before — or early in — the 2022 season.
20. Pittsburgh is a little better on the ballpark after swapping draft picks for a pair of low-floor veterans: Jesse Davis on duty and Malik Reed off the brink. The first started on every O-line except center, during a four-year stint with the Dolphins, and Reed quietly bagged a total of 13 sacks in his last two seasons with the Broncos.
21. Shaquille Leonard, previously named Darius, is on track to miss minimal time after avoiding a “Physically Unable to Perform” designation. He underwent back surgery this summer. A trip to IR is not out of the question, but it seems far-fetched.
22. The Vikings really weren’t happy with Kellen Mond’s development, leaving the former third-rounder just a year into his career handing over the #2 job behind Kirk Cousins to newly acquired Nick Mullens.
23. The Broncos are still seeing something in Brett Rypien, who will be Russell Wilson’s backup after Josh Johnson’s release. Or they’re planning an extra move on position in the wake of other teams’ budget cuts.
24. The Lions, like their Minnesota rivals, were unhappy with what was happening in the backup QB spot, causing ex-Packers Tim Boyle’s reserve to be scrapped and hesitantly turning to David Blough as Jared Goff insurance. sip?
25. Jalen Reagor may well have a future in Philadelphia. Relegated to an almost non-existent role with AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith giving the WR chamber some real juice, the 2020 first-rounder survived the latest cuts and might have been better off without the pressure to perform at the top of the depth chart , a la Nelson Agholor years ago.
26. Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen may be a safer bet than expected to return this season, despite his serious knee injury during camp. That’s because Tampa Bay has reportedly dropped the safety of veteran Logan Ryan with the intention of moving Jensen to IR soon, re-signing Ryan and hoping to designate Jensen for a regular season return to the road.
27. OJ Howard may not be the pass-catching weapon everyone had in mind when he came out of Alabama. If it wasn’t clear during his Buccaneers run, it might be now, after the Bills let him go after a single summer.
28. Mike McDaniel believes in Skylar Thompson’s potential. The rookie seventh-rounder dominated the preseason, earning a 53-man spot behind Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater rather than getting waivers for a potential practice squad.
29. Chargers corner JC Jackson could sooner or later be ready and avoid PUP despite recently undergoing ankle surgery that was expected to sideline him for up to a month. He is still an official opportunity to adapt for week 1.
30. Lance McCutcheon’s preseason was no fluke, at least not in the eyes of Sean McVay, who keeps the unwritten Montana State product in his WR room while Van Jefferson recovers from knee surgery.
31. The Chiefs’ RB room is as unpredictable as ever, with former Bucs starter Ronald Jones securing a job despite a slow camp and preseason start. He was able to split time with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco.
32. It’s finally okay to get pumped for real football. Let’s go!