NFL cuts have been made and rosters have been trimmed to the required 53-players prior to today’s 4 p.m. EST deadline. But there were some players that were on the list that many people didn’t expect to be released–some that people hoped wouldn’t be. This list is of 10 players that are the most notable — whether by name or career — and a few surprises made the list. Some of them on the list are heartbreaking because they have been through so much and others are players that are possibly riding off into the sunset.
10. Tim Tebow, QB — Philadelphia Eagles
Following the trade of quarterback Matt Barkley to the Arizona Cardinals, everyone was expecting for Tebow to make the Philadelphia roster. The hopes of those that are huge Tebow fans were shattered when the Eagles released the former Gators quarterback earlier today. Tebow mania is likely dead for good in the NFL, but should it be?
9. Matt Cassel, QB — Buffalo Bills
The Bills traded for Cassel in the offseason and he was expected to be the starter going into training camp. After underperforming in camp and preseason games, the Bills have parted ways with the veteran quarterback. Tyrod Taylor will get the start in Week 1 and EJ Manuel will be the backup for Buffalo–and Coach Rex Ryan is okay with that. Cassel might be given a chance elsewhere, but don’t expect him to be higher than a No. 3 QB on any team’s depth chart, unless there are multiple injuries.
8. Devon Still, DT — Cincinnati Bengals
Still’s daughter Leah was an inspiration for many as she battled cancer last season, and the Bengals signed Still so that he could pay for her medical bills. It was an act that many applauded around the country, but the Bengals feel like it is time to move on from the defensive tackle. It is unfortunate that he was cut prior to the 2015 season, but there is good news–Devon and Leah will still be under the NFL’s medical insurance. Sometimes life seems so cruel, but we all remain #LeahStrong.
7. Hakeem Nicks, WR — Tennessee Titans
This was a bit of surprise out of Titans’ camp, but Nicks has been on a downward spiral statistically the last few years. He was an integral part of the Giants’ offense from 2009-2013, but has only totaled 1,993 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in the last three seasons. Another team will most likely pick up Nicks, but he needs to do everything he can to become a major part of that team’s offense if he wants to continue his career in the NFL.
6. Reggie Wayne, WR — New England Patriots
Wayne signed a one-year contract with the Patriots on Aug. 25, but the team released him after he requested to be released. This storyline could have only added to the fire between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, especially following the decision by a Federal judge to nullify Tom Brady‘s suspension for his part in “DeflateGate.”
When Wayne signed with the Patriots, there were people that believed that it only added to the new Colts-Patriots rivalry, and it could have. Wayne will most likely retire following his release.
5. Da’Quan Bowers, DE — Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bowers hasn’t really done much in the NFL, at least not when it comes to sacking the opposing quarterback. In his first four years with the Bucs, he has only tallied 66 combined tackles and seven sacks in 50 career games. It’s not the best line for a defensive end, but it’s also not the worst either. Tampa Bay felt like it was time to move on from Bowers, as Jacquies Smith and George Johnson will be the starting ends for the Bucs’ defense.
4. Jason Babin, LB — New York Jets
The Jets have released linebacker Jason Babin after one season with the team. Last season, Babin played in 16 games while recording 25 combined tackles and only two sacks. Babin has had a few breakout seasons, but he seems to be wilting athletically in the NFL. It will be interesting to see if a team signs him prior to the season, but Babin might be on his way out of the league with all of the talented linebackers that are coming into the league in recent years.
3. Darnell Dockett, DT — San Francisco 49ers
After spending the first 10 years of his career with the Arizona Cardinals, Dockett decided to go play for another team in the NFC West–the 49ers. With all of the surprise retirements and releases that the 49ers had this offseason it is surprising that they have cut the veteran defensive end. Either Dockett is washed up or the 49ers think that someone else can help them more than he can. It would only be fitting if he went and signed with the St. Louis Rams or Seattle Seahawks now.
2. Nick Novak, K — San Diego Chargers
The veteran kicker has to be one of the most surprising players to be released by any team this year. He has been a mainstay on the Chargers roster the last four seasons, but last season’s 84.6% field goal rate might have been what cost him his roster spot. Overall, Novak has a career 81.6 percent of field goals made, but he was at 84 percent or lower twice in his four years with the Chargers. Don’t worry Nick, kickers have been dropping like flies this preseason so you might have another job soon.
1. Steve Weatherford, P — New York Giants
Weatherford has been a good punter for the Giants, but they decided that it was time for him to go. He has a career average of 44.5 yards per punt and a long of 71 yards. Interesting statistic for Weatherford: 31.3 percent of his 674 career punts landed inside the 20-yard line. He was very efficient when needing to pin the opposing team deep in their own territory, but he will now have to do it somewhere else.