Howard is a 6-foot-3, 300 pound defensive lineman who can play both on the interior and on the outside. He played in just two games as a rookie and apparently didn’t show enough for the Seahawks to keep him around this preseason.
His frame and versatility could be a perfect fit for the Patriots, who are now low on depth along the defensive line with just seven players as of Saturday afternoon.
2:12 p.m.: The Patriots weren’t the only team to make waves cutting quality tight ends this weekend.
Tony Moeaki tweeted out his goodbyes to Chiefs fans on Saturday as it appears that Andy Reid and Kansas City gave the talented 26-year-old his pink slip.
A tight end with reliable hands and good blocking skills, Moeaki seems like a good option for the Patriots’ offense. Just saying.
Check out Moeaki’s tweet below.
Well chiefs kingdom, it's been a pleasure. Best fans. Was starting to feel back to form. Bad timing for an inj. However...Challenge accepted—
Tony Moeaki (@TonyMoeaki81) August 31, 2013
2:03 p.m.: The Jets’ starting quarterback situation is still very much a toss up, but they at least know which quarterbacks will be on their roster for Week 1.
Third-year quarterback Greg McElroy was cut by the Jets on Saturday, paving the way for second-year quarterback Matt Simms to be the third-stringer behind Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
McElroy played in two games for the Jets in 2012, starting one, but he didn’t show the same sort of promise this preseason as was prevalent last year. Simms, on the other hand, made the most of his opportunities this preseason and stole the backup job.
1:55 p.m.: The Detroit Lions got in on the headline action here on cutday.
The Lions released fourth-year safety Amari Spievey, according to Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press.
Spievey was a third-round pick of the Lions in 2010. He was a good depth safety during his first two seasons in Detroit, recording 99 tackles and five interceptions, but his third season was marred by injuries and saw him play just five games. There is still some promise in Spievey’s game, but he never fully developed into the standout safety the Lions were hoping for when they drafted him.
1:30 p.m.: Missed in the hustle and bustle of the Patriots’ activity, the Packers cut quarterback Vince Young, according to Pro Football Talk.
Young was signed by the Packers earlier this preseason and appeared to be Green Bay’s backup to Aaron Rodgers when the team decided to cut Graham Harrell. As it turns out, B.J. Coleman did just enough over the final two preseason games to establish himself as the Packers’ No. 2, giving them enough reason to snip Young.
There might still be an opportunity out there for Young, after a strong camp, but they will be few and far between.
12:15 p.m.: The Patriots are now down to 55 players on their roster, according to reports.
Defensive end Justin Francis, linebacker Ja’Gared Davis and safety Kanorris Davis were all released by the team on Saturday afternoon, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
Two more cuts were reported just moments ago, though, as offensive lineman Josh Kline and cornerback Justin Green were cut by the team, according to Shalise Manza Young of The Boston Globe.
That marks 11 players cut by the Patriots here on Saturday with two more to go to get down to that final 53.
11:45 a.m.: Tim Tebow’s favorite receiving target with the Patriots — no, not the defensive back — got the boot on Saturday, too.
Undrafted rookie receiver Quentin Sims was waived by the Patriots, according to NESN’s Doug Kyed.
The Patriots waived WR Quentin Sims, according to a source.—
Doug Kyed (@DougKyedNESN) August 31, 2013
Sims put on quite a show in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s preseason finale, catching three passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns. His rapport with Tebow was notable during training camp and the preseason, as the two connected time and again.
There is a lot of raw talent left to develop with Sims, but he could very well find his way onto the Patriots’ practice squad, if, of course, he clears waivers.
11:25 a.m.: The cuts just keep on coming in New England.
Rookie running back George Winn was waived by the Patriots, according to NESN’s own Doug Kyed. The much bigger move, though, is the Patriots’ decision to release veteran punter Zoltan Mesko.
Mesko seemed to have the punting competition locked up entering the final game of the preseason, but undrafted rookie Ryan Allen put on quite the showing in the second half of the finale and apparently snatched up the job. The move also saves the Patriots a little over $920,000 on the salary cap this season, which may have played a role in the decision.
11:00 a.m.: It appears second-year defensive tackle Marcus Forston will join Tim Tebow and Jermaine Cunningham among the list of Patriots cut this morning.
Forston is among the final cuts, according to Pro Football Talk. He made the 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie in 2012, reverting back and forth between the active roster and practice squad all season. He showed promise to be a quality depth option behind Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly on the interior of the defensive line this season, but it seems that maybe his value wasn’t quite as high in the eyes of Bill Belichick.
10:48 a.m.: Tim Tebow is no longer a member of the New England Patriots, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Patriots released Tebow on Saturday, according to Schefter, deciding to carry two quarterbacks into the 2013 regular season. Tebow was signed by the Patriots on June 11 and spent two-plus months with the team, learning under Tom Brady and working on his mechanics with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Tebow played in three of the Patriots’ preseason games, saving his best for last as he completed 6 of 11 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason finale against the Giants. Apparently, that still wasn’t enough to warrant him a spot on the final 53-man roster.
10:26 a.m.: The Patriots have some big decisions to make as they seek to get down to 53 players on Saturday. The first domino fell along the defensive line.
The Patriots have released veteran defensive lineman Jermaine Cunningham, according to Pro Football Talk. Cunningham was a second-round pick of the Patriots in the 2010 draft, but he never emerged as the big-time pass rusher that Bill Belichick had hoped. He played a versatile role along the defensive line, shifting between defensive end and defensive tackle, last season, but an inability to stay healthy during training camp this year may have cost him his roster spot.
Now, it’s looking more and more like 2012 third-round pick Jake Bequette and 2013 seventh-rounder Michael Buchanan, who both enjoyed breakout performances in the preseason finale, will make the final 53-man roster.
9:31 a.m.: The Browns have begun to cut down their roster as well, trimming off veteran wide receiver David Nelson early on Saturday.
Nelson is to be released today, according to Pro Football Talk, after a subpar preseason in Cleveland. The presence of young receivers like Greg Little, Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin and Davone Bess made Nelson expendable, which was likely a reason behind his release.
9:05 a.m.: The first big name to drop on the day is quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
The Carolina Panthers cut the former second-round pick early Saturday morning, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Clausen was a disappointment in three seasons with the Panthers. He was such a disappointment, in fact, that Carolina drafted Cam Newton just one year after taking Clausen in the middle of Round 2 — that’s no good.
With such a death of talented quarterbacks around the league, though, Clausen should be able to find a backup job somewhere over the next few months.
*Saturday 9:00 a.m.: It’s officially cutdown day, and that means even more players will be cut before the NFL’s 6 p.m. 53-man roster deadline.
We saw the likes of Jake Ballard, Marcus Trufant and Matt Leinart sent packing on Friday. There should be even more big names to be cut throughout the day on Saturday. So, keep your eyes peeled here on the live blog for all the updates.
6:40 p.m.: Some former Patriots got the heave ho from Jacksonville on Friday afternoon. Jeremy Ebert and Mike Kafka were among the Jaguars’ cuts. Jacksonville also released former All-Pro Marcus Trufant.
4:51 p.m.: Here’s a bit of a surprise that could interest the Patriots: The Jets released defensive lineman Antonio Garay, according to Pro Football Talk.
Garay had previously played with the Chargers. He had a down year in 2012, but had previously been a solid pass rushing nose tackle.
3:59 p.m.: The E.J. Manuel and Jeff Tuel era appears to be starting in Buffalo. The Bills have released Matt Leinart, according to The Associated Press.
Brian Banks, who was falsely imprisoned on rape charges after committing to USC, has been released by the Falcons, according to Jay Glazer.
2:30 p.m.: The cuts keep coming for the Patriots. The team announced they have released 10 players: TE Jake Ballard, DE Marcus Benard, TE Daniel Fells, WR Johnathan Haggerty, LB Mike Rivera, OL Luke Patterson, FB Ben Bartholomew, DL Gilbert Peña, OL Matt Stankiewitch and DL Scott Vallone.
Cornerback Stephon Morris has also been cut, according to Nick Underhill of MassLive.com.
2 p.m. ET: The next two days will be tough ones for NFL players.
On Saturday at 4 p.m., NFL teams will have to cut their rosters from 75 players down to 53. Some teams, like the hometown New England Patriots, have got a head start on the cuts, though.
The Patriots have already released tight ends Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells, according to multiple reports, and defensive lineman Marcus Benard, according to Pro Football Talk. Ballard and Benard come as a bit of a surprise. Ballard was expected to be a big part of the Patriots’ offense with Rob Gronkowski still recovering from back surgery, but it seemed the former Giant was never able to fully recover from knee surgery a year and a half after the procedure.
The decision to release Ballard and Fells likely bodes well for Gronkowski. It would be a surprise if Gronkowski began the season on the PUP list at this point. He’ll likely start on the 53-man roster, though, he probably won’t suit up until at least Game 4 against the Falcons.
Benard starred in pass-rushing one-on-ones in training camp, but his ability to beat offensive linemen didn’t translate to the preseason games, especially when he was miscast a third-down defensive tackle. It likely helped the Patriots’ decision makers when Jake Bequette and Michael Buchanan each stood out in the final preseason game against the Giants. Both players are younger, more versatile and have higher upside than Benard.
Jermaine Cunningham also appears safe for now. He’s been hurt the last few weeks of the summer, but the Patriots have always seemed to like versatile former second-round pick.
We’ll be updating throughout the next two days with all the latest cuts.
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