Bradley — Commey, Lopez no match for Lomachenko

Editor’s note: Vasiliy Lomachenko is three-fourths of the way to his goal of unifying boxing’s lightweight division after defeating Luke Campbell Saturday in London. Only one major belt remains, and that title will belong to either current titleholder Richard Commey or mandatory challenger Teofimo Lopez once that fight is officially made for late in 2019.

Lomachenko seems poised and ready to fight either man once the opportunity comes together, and that seems particularly true when it comes to Lopez. Over the past couple of years, the 22-year-old upstart and his father have spoken often of their desire to face Lomachenko, with Lopez’s father (also named Teofimo) having some harsh words for the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

So how does Lomachenko’s final hurdle to unification play out? Former two-division world titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. has the scouting report on how both Lopez and Commey would match up against Lomachenko in a potential fight with all four belts on the line.

How does Lopez match up with Lomachenko?

Bradley: He has to win the Commey fight first. I have doubts about that one. That’s a tough fight for Lopez at this stage in his career.

He’s a dangerous guy, but if you match him up with a guy like Lomachenko, well, it’s going to be like high school trigonometry. It’s going to be like trigonometry all over again for him. He’s going to learn a little something about angle. He’s going to learn about what you think is there is not always there.

I saw a lot of vulnerability in Lopez in his last fight. He got hit with some clean right hands by Masayoshi Nakatani. You can’t get hit with those kinds of shots against a guy like Commey. You can’t. Commey has lethal punching power in both hands.

You know how it looks from the outside and how it is in the inside, once you get in there with Lomachenko. I think Lomachenko’s going to play around with Lopez. I think Lomachenko’s going to punish him for saying the things that he and his father have said (LINK). He’s going to punish him because his father kept picking on Lomachenko and disrespecting Lomachenko. I think Lomachenko’s going to let the fight go on as long as he wants to go on. He’s going to just pick the kid apart and leave him in pieces.

Lopez, at this point, has no way to turn around. He’s put himself in this position, but like I said, first of all he has to get past Commey.

It will be a learning experience. I don’t think it will hurt his career because he’s still young in his career, but it will affect his pride. He’ll gain a lot of experience from a loss to Lomachenko. It’d be a little piece of humble pie at the same time.

Even though he is a big 135-pounder, Loma, myself, I mean anyone that’s at the top level understands what we witnessed when he fought Nakatani. To me, he was exposed, and he got exposed in a way where he was hit with right hands, almost too often, and he was never able to make that adjustment.

One of the defenses that Lopez likes to use is the catch and shoot. So, that’s his thing, you know, similar to an Anthony Yarde, where they drop their left hand and they don’t really use the left hand to block anything and they depend on shoulder roll. Well that’s no special defense. He depends on the shoulder roll, and the way you beat the shoulder roll is a good jab, educated feet, come over the top with the right and then bring back the left hook, because their opponent is lined up for that type of punch.

Loma, being a southpaw, will probably land that straight left hand every time he pulls back with his hands — his left hand down and his right hand up. I just see Loma slowly breaking him down and then stopping him. I see Loma stopping Lopez, I honestly do.

How does Commey match up with Lomachenko?

Bradley: These guys, they don’t know. They don’t understand trigonometry, they don’t understand angles. Loma does, and it’d be the same problem for Commey as it would be for Lopez — but I think it’d be even worse for a guy like Commey.

Richard Commey, he fights steady, stiff, not really a whole lot of upper-body movement. He throws punches wide. Loma will be able to time him with shots. Commey’s only chance, honestly, is to catch Lomachenko, knock him on his behind and, and not let Loma get up. He’s got to knock him out. That’s the only way — he has a puncher’s chance, and that’s it.

Commey will probably get stopped a lot sooner than Lopez will, because of the angles, because of the speed and because of how educated Lomachenko is. I take nothing away from Commey. He’s a tough, tough guy, but there are levels to this game, man. There’s levels, and Lomachenko is at the elite level. Commey is a great champion, but he’s not elite.

Why are both of these matchups good for Lomachenko?

Bradley: I understand that the Lopez camp, they might feel a certain way because I’m saying it, but from my experience I’m saying if Lopez doesn’t fix that defense, he will not last with Lomachenko. He will get peppered, and peppered, and peppered, until either his father throws in the towel, which he probably never will, or the kid won’t even come out anymore, or he gets knocked out. He gets stopped, because Loma is going to punish him. I’m serious. He’s going to punish him badly, because of all the talking that he’s been doing.

And for Commey, he’s like a robot. He’s going to come forward, and he’s going to fight, and he only knows how to fight one way. He doesn’t know how to fight backing up. And as soon as Lomachenko figures that out, which will take probably a round or two, it’s going to be over. He’s going to start taking Commey apart, setting him up again and again [to] walk him into something.

Could Lopez show you anything against Commey that might shift your opinion?

Bradley: If Lopez can tighten up his defense and he can come behind his jab, come behind an educated jab and start setting up his offense, then he can give Lomachenko something. Some sort of resistance, because the kid is powerful, he is young, and now we know he can go the distance, no problem. But that’s what he’s going to need to do. He’s going to have to go back to the drawing board, and I’m not sure if his father did take him there. His father has embedded this style in him, which caused tons of problems for him, getting hit with the right hand over and over and over again by a taller guy.

As far as the Richard Commey fight goes, I mean, Lopez can win that fight. He’s the more athletic fighter. He’s the more skillful fighter. But there’s one thing that Richard Commey does very well. He has that grit, that determination, and when he takes a licking he keeps on ticking. If you don’t hurt him, if you don’t really hurt him, then he’s going to take you out. He’s got punching power with both hands, and he’s dangerous during every second of a fight.

Lopez will have to be on his A-game. If he’s not on his A-game against Commey, he’s going to lose the fight. Not just lose it, he’s going to get knocked out.

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Loma tops Campbell, adds WBC to title collection

Pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko moved a step closer to becoming the undisputed lightweight world champion on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London.

Lomachenko defended his two 135-pound belts and added a vacant one to his collection as he won a lopsided, but hard fought battle with England’s Luke Campbell on ESPN+ in a fight between Olympic gold medal winners before a wild sold-out crowd of 18,000-plus.

Lomachenko, who knocked Campbell down in the 11th round and nearly stopped him, won 119-108, 119-108 and 118-109. ESPN also scored the fight for Lomachenko, 117-110.

Lomachenko now needs only the fourth belt to become the undisputed champion and is expected to get the opportunity in his next fight in the first part of 2020 against the winner of a fight between titlist Richard Commey and mandatory challenger Teofimo Lopez Jr., who likely will meet on Dec. 14.

First Lomachenko had to deal with Campbell, a fellow southpaw with height and reach advantage. But Lomachenko dismissed Campbell, the second Brit in a row he has defeated after destroying Anthony Crolla, a former world titleholder, by easy fourth-round knockout in April in Los Angeles.

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LeBron files to trademark term ‘Taco Tuesday’

LeBron James wants a little lettuce on his Taco Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar is looking to monetize his popular videos by filing to trademark the term “Taco Tuesday.”

One of James’ companies, LBJ Trademarks, submitted the necessary paperwork with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in August. The application states that the goods and services involved with the trademark involve “advertising and marketing services provided by means of indirect methods of marketing communications, namely, social media, search engine marketing, inquiry marketing, internet marketing, mobile marketing, blogging and other forms of passive, sharable or viral communications channels.”

The company also lists “podcasting services” and “online entertainment services, namely, providing a website featuring non-downloadable videos, and social media posts in the field of sports, entertainment, current events and popular culture.”

A source told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that James’ team has no firm plans for the term but want to keep all business opportunities open.

James isn’t alone in requesting to trademark the term “Taco Tuesday.” A search of the USPTO website yields 29 results, many of them no longer active. Other services listed by companies requesting the term are for electrical appliances, clothing and — of course — food.

In fact, the restaurant chain Taco John’s — which has a corporate office in Wyoming — had a trademark on the term “Taco Tuesday” for restaurant services as far back as 1989.

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Vikings cut kicker Vedvik just weeks after trade

MINNEAPOLIS — Less than three weeks after sending a fifth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for Kaare Vedvik, the Minnesota Vikings have cut the 25-year-old kicker/punter.

The Vikings also parted ways Saturday with former first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell, who failed to carve out a role in Minnesota’s offense in the three seasons after he was drafted 23rd overall in 2016.

After a preseason of uncertainty surrounding their specialists, the Vikings will go with Dan Bailey as their kicker, Matt Wile as the punter and rookie Austin Cutting at long-snapper. The hope, according to a source, is that the team will be able to sign Vedvik to the practice squad on Sunday if he clears waivers.

The Norwegian-born combo kicker was 12-of-13 on field goals during the past two preseasons in Baltimore before going 1-for-4 on such kicks with the Vikings. Upon arriving in Minnesota, Vikings coaches considered the idea of letting Vedvik handle both kicking and punting responsibilities, something he’d previously handled during his collegiate career at Marshall, although the difficulties in handling such a heavy workload — especially for a rookie — were noted.

Vedvik’s struggles became more frequent during the final days of the preseason. In Minnesota’s last practice before playing in Buffalo, Vedvik went 5-for-9 on field goals. Asked about what he’s learned with handling kickers who struggle in the preseason, coach Mike Zimmer noted the role he needs to have in helping these players overcome hurdles.

“It’s a good question,” Zimmer said. “I guess the biggest thing is I’ve got to have more patience, probably.”

Treadwell was coming off a 2018 campaign where he recorded his first touchdown as a pro, notching a career-high 302 receiving yards while leading the team in dropped passes. Minnesota opted not to pick up the receiver’s fifth-year option, which would have cost the Vikings $10.162 million next season.

Instead, Minnesota incurs $2,506,360 in dead cap by releasing Treadwell prior to his fourth season, given the proration of his signing bonus ($1,356,360) and the guaranteed portion of his 2019 salary ($1.15 million).

According to a source with knowledge of the language in Treadwell’s contract, there is an offset provision, which means if Treadwell is claimed off waivers, the guarantee owed by the Vikings will reduce by the amount the new team pays him.

The news of Treadwell’s release doesn’t come as a surprise given how the past three seasons have transpired. Minnesota attempted to trade Treadwell this offseason and at multiple points dating back to the 2018 season — both on cut-down day and again toward the October trade deadline.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver never panned out to the level of expectations set forth when he was drafted in the first round as a big, physical outside receiver who also could line up in the slot and create mismatches while running underneath routes. Treadwell was passed up by others on the depth chart and failed to grab hold of the No. 3 receiver position behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The Vikings haven’t parted ways with many first-round picks prior to their fourth season. The last was wideout Troy Williamson, the No. 7 pick in the 2005 draft, whom the Vikings traded for a sixth-round pick after three seasons.

Among Minnesota’s other notable cuts Saturday was Kyle Sloter, who had the highest preseason passer rating among quarterbacks with 40 or more attempts. Sloter was 39-of-51 passing in the preseason for 443 yards, four touchdowns, one interception and a 120.0 passer rating.

The Vikings also attempted to find a trade partner for Sloter on Saturday before releasing him at the deadline. The quarterback came to Minnesota in 2017 after he was waived by Denver, where he began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent. Sloter was quickly promoted from the practice squad to active roster due to a non-contact knee injury Sam Bradford suffered early in the 2017 season and spent the season as Case Keenum‘s backup.

Sloter never saw action in a regular season game in Minnesota but routinely put up big numbers in preseason outings. Despite an impressive stat line in those games, Sloter never took a second-team rep at quarterback, which is the role Sean Mannion assumes this season in Minnesota behind starter Kirk Cousins.

“I don’t know that you guys know all the little details about everything, you just see how he goes and does the game,” Zimmer said of Sloter’s preseason performances. “He’s got to get a lot better in a lot of the other parts of being a quarterback. Making the right checks, getting people in the right formation, making sure the motion is there, not missing the time clock when it’s eight yards in front of you. There’s a lot of things that he has to get better at if he wants to be the backup quarterback.”

Earlier in the preseason, Zimmer critiqued Sloter’s abilities in practice versus what he does in games. While preseason practices during July and August are open to the media, practices in season are not. According to multiple team sources, those practices played the biggest factor in Sloter not moving up the depth chart over the past three seasons. His struggles operating the huddle, getting the right playcall and into the right cadence along with his accuracy and decision-making hindered Sloter’s ability to cement himself as Cousins’ backup.

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Joyful Dale Jr. finishes 6th in return at Darlington

DARLINGTON, S.C. — A joyful Dale Earnhardt Jr. returned the racetrack Saturday, finishing sixth in the Xfinity event at Darlington Raceway two weeks after he and his family escaped a plane in flames in Tennessee.

The race was a welcome relief from thinking about the crash for Earnhardt and his family. He hopped in his car after kissing wife Amy and 16-month-old daughter Isla, and his driving skills kicked in as he moved up from 14th into the top five.

Earnhardt’s glee was apparent when he told fellow broadcaster Jeff Burton, “I didn’t think I’d be this good.”

It was Earnhardt’s only race this season and his first since finishing fourth in Richmond almost a year ago.

NASCAR Cup regular Denny Hamlin won his sixth Darlington Xfinity race.

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Barcelona opt to end pursuit of Neymar

Barcelona have given up their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar but will make a renewed effort to sign the Brazilian superstar next summer, sources have told ESPN FC.

Sources close to the Ligue 1 champions also confirmed on Saturday that the deal is off and that Neymar will be staying in Paris.

Following weeks of negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain, Barca have been unable to strike a deal to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.

However, sources at Barca have told ESPN FC that they don’t view this as the end of the saga. The club have not ruled out returning with another offer next summer for a player they consider to be a “strategic” signing — someone who brings the club as much on the pitch as he does off it.

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The hierarchy at the club has appreciated the part played by Neymar during the negotiations with PSG, according to sources, with Barcelona saying he had expressed a desire to come back and exerted pressure on the French club to let him go.

Speaking on Friday, PSG’s sporting director Leonardo said the club were still open to selling the Brazilian if Barca made an acceptable offer, but that none had arrived. Now with 48 hours to go until the window shuts, that is looking improbable.

Despite PSG’s apparent openness to sell, sources at Barca claim that a deal this summer became impossible when faced with the Ligue 1 side’s reluctance to reduce their asking price for the forward, who they signed for €222 million from the Catalans in 2017.

Barca have been working on the viability of doing a deal for two months but they cannot put the club’s financial health at risk. Matching PSG’s demands would signify a huge initial outlay in addition to another huge salary on the books.

ESPN FC first revealed on June 17 that Barca believed it would be possible to sign both Antoine Griezmann and Neymar. Therefore, once they bought the French forward from Atletico Madrid for €120m in July, they began to work on a deal for Neymar.

“It’s difficult but complicated,” a club source told ESPN FC at the time, but the Spanish champions have been unable to get PSG to budge.

Barca made three offers in the end, with all of them rejected. The first bid included Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic and cash between the value of €80m and €100m. PSG were keen on Coutinho being included, so his loan move to Bayern Munich set the talks back.

Barca later returned with an offer to take Neymar on loan this season with an option to sign him next summer which was also declined.

The third and final offer was based on a figure of €170m, with Rakitic and Jean Clair Todibo plus the loan of Ousmane Dembele included to bring the money part of the transfer down to around €130m.

However, none of the three players were keen on being included in the deal.

Real Madrid and Juventus have also been linked with Neymar throughout the summer, but Leonardo said on Friday that Barcelona were the only side who PSG had held talks with.

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Sources — Texans finalizing deal for Tunsil, Stills

The Houston Texans are finalizing a trade with the Miami Dolphins for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.

Wide receiver Kenny Stills also is going to Houston in the deal, a source told ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe.

The Texans are sending a package that includes two first-round picks and one second-round pick to Miami, a source told Schefter. There was no immediate word on if more parts to the package were involved.

Tunsil is now expected to be protecting Deshaun Watson‘s blindside this season. The quarterback will be happy to have the upgrade in protection; last year, Houston’s 62 sacks allowed were the most by a playoff team since the 1999 Detroit Lions.

Tunsil, who is under contract this year and has a fifth-year option for 2020, was a first-round draft pick (13th overall) of the Dolphins in 2016. He’s started 44 games for Miami over the last three seasons.

Dolphins quarterbacks were sacked on 10.1 percent of their dropbacks in 2018, 31st of 32 teams in the NFL.

Stills joins an already dynamic offense led by Watson and star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Since entering the league in 2013, he has hauled in 259 receptions for 4,138 yards (with 32 touchdowns). His 16.0 yards per-catch-mark is the fourth-best mark in the NFL since 2013.

Houston was busy on cut-down day Saturday.

It acquired running back Carlos Hyde from the Kansas City Chiefs in a trade for guard Martinas Rankin, sources told Schefter. In another trade, it acquired second-year cornerback Keion Crossen from the New England Patriots, a source said. And star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is in Seattle and about to sign his franchise tender, which will enable the Texans to trade him to the Seahawks, a source said.

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Pogba’s mixed performance sums up Solskjaer’s problems at Man United

SOUTHAMPTON, England — Is it possible for one man to be his team’s best and worst player in the same game?

Every time Paul Pogba got the ball during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw against Southampton, you sat up, eyes widened, because it looked like something terrific was about to happen, something you would not want to miss. Then, though, more often than not the complete opposite happened.

There was a short period toward the end of the first half in which Pogba relinquished possession three times in the space of around 90 seconds. Two attempted passes, cumulatively of around 15 yards in length, went astray, while the other instance came when he was easily muscled off the ball inside his own half. That, in a nutshell, was essentially his game.

It would have been mind-bendingly frustrating had an ordinary player made such basic mistakes, but for the French World Cup winner to be guilty of such deficiencies is doubly infuriating. He is better than that. There were times in this game when he provided a threat with driving forward runs, but, yet again, his inconsistency loomed large.

Like another United talisman — Wayne Rooney, who moved to Old Trafford on this day 15 year ago — Pogba at his best can be a world-class match winner, but at his worst you might as well stick a traffic cone in the middle of the pitch. Such is the range of his club’s problems, though, that Pogba’s poor performances are highlighted more than his peers at other clubs.

In elite teams, others step up when the main man goes missing. If Kevin De Bruyne has a bad game, Manchester City know David Silva or Bernardo Silva or Raheem Sterling are there. Mo Salah off the pace? Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, as well as full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, can pick up Liverpool’s slack.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer relies on Pogba because there really is nobody else in midfield. Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira are game triers but are not going to control many battles, while Juan Mata has settled into the “looks nice but does little” groove and Nemanja Matic moves too slowly (among other things) to be a real factor. Fred, meanwhile, remains absent.

And therein lies the real folly of United’s summer in the transfer market. To allow two midfielders — Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini — to leave without being replaced would be questionable at the best of times, but leaving themselves so deficient of options when they know that their main man is so inconsistent is unforgivable.

A knock-on effect is that too much pressure is being placed on a set of extremely talented but young and inexperienced players. In an ideal world, United should be easing Daniel James into the team, but all of a sudden this 21-year-old, who made his senior debut just over 18 months ago and has one season in the Championship to his name, is their most potent attacker. His fine goal at St Mary’s means he has three already this season.

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Ditto Mason Greenwood, who looked lively after coming on, but he is 17 and is now essentially first reserve for Manchester United. Even Marcus Rashford, who is actually only a month older than James, is a senior player when he should be learning alongside someone older and wiser. These youngsters will inevitably be inconsistent, but those dips in performance would matter less if they had more than Pogba as their point of reference.

“We as a team started giving sloppy balls away after about half an hour,” Solskjaer said after the game. “Paul was one of [the players responsible for that]. He wasn’t any different to anyone else. We as a team didn’t play well. In the last half hour he created loads for us.

“Everyone expects everything from him every game,” the United manager continued. “He has to defend, he has to attack, he has to win headers, he has to win tackles, he has to dribble, he has to make passes.”

Solskjaer meant the wider world when discussing what is expected of Pogba, but in truth he was describing how his team is composed. United lean on one player so much, but that player cannot be relied upon to be the central pillar every week.

“That’s just Paul, and he’ll thrive on that.”

Will he? Solskjaer has always been an optimist, but that is among his most hopeful statements.

When Pogba, who limped away from this game after suffering a late knock, spoke of wanting “a new challenge” in the summer, Solskjaer insisted that he could get what he desired at Old Trafford. But the 26-year-old’s recent form has only served to further highlight myriad issues faced by the club.

Since winning at Paris Saint-Germain in March — a game in which Pogba did not play — United have won just three of 16 games in all competitions. From the emotion and sentiment of early spring, reality has bitten in the months; this result, against opponents who played the last 20 minutes a man down after Kevin Danso was sent off, was simply the latest example.

“We’ve dominated the last three games, and we know we’re on the right track,” Solskjaer said of a team that has claimed five points from its opening four Premier League games. He might “know” that, but with a squad so thin and a team that looks to Pogba to lead every week, it does not look like it to everyone else.

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Texans finalizing deal for Tunsil, source says

The Houston Texans are finalizing a trade with the Miami Dolphins for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.

Tunsil is now expected to be protecting quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s blindside this season.

There was no immediate word on what the Dolphins were receiving in the deal.

Tunsil was a first-round draft pick (13th overall) of the Dolphins in 2016. He’s started 44 games for Miami over the last three seasons.

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NFL cuts for all 32 teams

The NFL, which opens the 2019 season on Thursday night, goes through the last rite of passage of the preseason — cut-down day — Saturday. Rosters must be trimmed from 90 to 53 players. This is a look at the biggest move for every team and who got cut. It will be updated all day as cuts happen.

AFC East

The Dolphins kept seven undrafted free agents and all six draft picks. Getting rid of Dwayne Allen, Tank Carradine and Brice Butler on Saturday, along with T.J. McDonald, Akeem Spence, Jordan Mills and Clive Walford earlier this week, show the direction Miami is going in 2019. Allen may be the most notable of the moves as he was signed as a free agent from New England in March with the expectation that he would be Miami’s starting tight end and help install the offense. Allen’s injuries kept him off the field and it cleared the way for a quartet of young tight ends for Miami. — Cameron Wolfe

Waived: QB Jake Rudock, WR Isaiah Ford, CB Torry McTyer, S Maurice Smith, CB Jalen Davis, DT Joey Mbu, CB Cornell Armstrong, LB Quentin Poling, LB Tre Watson, DE Dewayne Hendrix, WR Trenton Irwin, OL Michael Dunn, WR Reece Horn, CB David Rivers, DT Cory Thomas, OL Kyle Fuller, OL Aaron Monteiro, LS Wes Farnsworth, RB Kenneth Farrow, OT Jaryd Jones-Smith, OL Durval Queiroz Neto, DT Jamiyus Pittman, LB Tyrone Holmes, LB Nick DeLuca, WR T.J. Rahming, OL Tony Adams, CB Nik Needham, LB Terrance Smith
Released: TE Dwayne Allen, DE Tank Carradine, WR Brice Butler, CB Tyler Patmon
Physically unable to perform: Robert Nkemdiche, Cordrea Tankersley

AFC North

A strong showing in the final two preseason games earned rookie quarterback Jake Dolegala a temporary spot on the roster. The undrafted free agent out of Central Connecticut State earned the third spot on the depth chart after completing 69.8% of his passes for 347 yards two touchdowns and no interceptions. Dolegala’s finish to the preseason earned him a continued stay in Cincinnati behind starter Andy Dalton and fourth-round pick Ryan Finley, who will be No. 2 quarterback when the season starts. — Ben Baby

Waived: LB Curtis Akins, C Kirk Barron, TE Mortiz Bohringer, CB Jordan Brown, WR Ventell Bryant, CB Anthony Chesley, WR Cody Core, S Demetrious Cox, LB Deshaun Davis, LB Noah Dawkins, RB Jordan Ellis, OT Justin Evans, RB Quinton Flowers, TE Jordan Franks, LS Dan Godsil, CB Davontae Harris, LB Malik Jefferson, S Tyree Kinnel, CB Tony Lippett, C Brad Lundblade, WR Stanley Morgan, DT Dare Odeyingbo, DT Christian Ringo, WR KeiVarae Russell, TE Mason Schreck, WR Hunter Sharp, LB Sterling Sheffield, OG Keaton Sutherland, DE Immanuel Turner, K Tristan Vizcaino, G Christian Westerman
Released:G John Jerry
Injured reserve: RB Rodney Anderson, QB Jeff Driskel
PUP: CB Darqueze Dennard, OT Jonah Williams
Reserve/suspended: OG Alex Redmond

Fan favorite Jamie Gillan, an undrafted rookie out of Arkansas Pine-Bluff, stunningly beat out incumbent punter Britton Colquitt, who was a Pro Bowl alternate last year. Nicknamed “The Scottish Hammer” because of his native Scotland, Gillan grew up playing rugby and impressed all training camp, including unloading a booming 74-yard punt in a preseason game. Gillan making the team means the Browns will interestingly be rolling with a pair of rookies on special teams, including placekicker Austin Seibert, whom Cleveland drafted in the fifth round this year. Seibert struggled early in training camp before coming on strongly over the past week. Pairing Gillan and Seibert together might seem risky, but because of their talent, the upside is high. — Jake Trotter

Released: WR Dorian Baker, DT Brandin Bryant, TE Stephen Carlson, TE Seth DeValve, OT Brian Fineanganofo, RB Trayone Gray, LB Willie Harvey, S J.T. Hassell, WR Ishmael Hyman, CB Robert Jackson, K Greg Joseph, CB Donnie Lewis Jr., S Montrel Meander, WR Braxton Miller, RB A.J. Ouellette, DE Jarrell Owens, CB Lenzy Pipkins, DT Brian Price, DE Wyatt Ray, S Tigie Sankoh, OT Brad Seaton, WR Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, LB Anthony Stubbs, OT Travis Vornkahl, LB Dedrick Young II, WR Derrick Willies, G Willie Wright, DE Anthony Zettel
Contract terminated: LB Ray-Ray Armstrong, P Britton Colquitt, DT Carl Davis, OT Bryan Witzmann
Waived/injured: G Kyle Kalis, FB Joe Kerridge
Injured reserve: CB Phillip Gaines
Reserve/suspended: WR Antonio Callaway, RB Kareem Hunt, TE Rico Gathers

The Steelers’ roster has been mostly set for months, but the play of two rookie linebackers made mild waves on cut-down day. Undrafted pass rusher Tuzar Skipper and sixth-round inside linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III showcased enough playmaking and special-teams ability to stick around, forcing Pittsburgh to make a difficult call at receiver with Eli Rogers. Ryan Switzer‘s versatility as a slot receiver, kick returner and playmaker out of the backfield made Rogers expendable. The Steelers decided to keep Josh Dobbs as the third quarterback despite Mason Rudolph winning the No. 2 job. Speedster Johnny Holton could be an option to return at some point as a vertical threat for Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers cut two late-round picks, linebacker Sutton Smith and offensive lineman Derwin Gray, but kept fourth-round running back Benny Snell Jr. as the third tailback. — Jeremy Fowler

Waived/released: DB Brian Allen (injured), DL Lavon Hooks (injured), QB Devlin Hodges, RB Trey Edmunds, RB Travon McMillian, RB Malik Williams, WR Tevin Jones, WR Trey Griffey, WR Johnny Holton, WR Brandon Reilly, WR Eli Rogers, WR Diontae Spencer, OL Garrett Brumfield, OL Derwin Gray, OL J.C. Hassenauer, OL Patrick Morris, OL Damian Prince, TE Micky Crum, TE Kevin Rader, TE Christian Scotland-Williamson, TE Trevor Wood, DL Winston Craig, DL Greg Gilmore, DL Henry Mondeaux, DL Casey Sayles, DL Conor Sheehy, LB Jayrone Elliott, LB Christian Kuntz, LB Tegray Scales, LB Sutton Smith, LB Robert Spillane, DB Marcus Allen, DB Davon Askew-Henry, DB Marcelis Branch, DB Jhvonte Dean, DB P.J. Locke, DB Trevon Mathis, P Ian Berryman, K Matthew Wright
Physically unable to perform: LB Ryan Shazier

AFC South

The Colts are in need of a backup quarterback even more after the release of Phillip Walker. His release means Jacoby Brissett, who became the starter after Andrew Luck‘s retirement on Aug. 24, is the only other quarterback on the active roster because Chad Kelly is suspended for the first two games. The Colts recently had veteran quarterbacks Brock Osweiler, Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden in for a visit. Brian Hoyer, DeShone Kizer and Cardale Jones are some notable quarterbacks who were released Saturday. At tight end, Hale Hentges made the 53-man roster, which makes it 21 consecutive years that an undrafted free agent made the Colts’ roster. — Mike Wells

Waived: S Micah Abernathy, OL Jackson Barton, CB Jalen Collins, WR Ashton Dulin, OL Jake Eldrenkamp, OL Antonio Garcia, DL Gerri Green, DL Obum Gwacham, K Cole Hedlund, WR Krishawn Hogan, CB Isaiah Langley, WR Roger Lewis, LB Skai Moore, OL Daniel Munyer, DL Carroll Phillips, DL Johnny Robinson, DL Sterling Shippy, OL Nate Theaker, S Jacob Thieneman, WR Jordan Veasy, QB Phillip Walker, RB Aca’Cedric Ware, RB Marquis Young
Released: TE Gabe Holmes, DL Caraun Reid, TE Ross Travis, OL J’Marcus Webb, RB Charcandrick West
Waived/injured: WR Marcus Johnson, LB Ahmad Thomas, WR Penny Hart, S Isaiah Johnson, S Kai Nacua, CB Shakial Taylor
Reserve/suspended: QB Chad Kelly (suspended)

No major surprises but the release of defensive lineman Datone Jones was somewhat unexpected. The former first-round pick had a solid training camp and played well in the preseason, but the Jaguars opted to go with an additional interior lineman in Eli Ankou rather than Jones, who can play both inside and outside. The development of third-year player Dawuane Smoot, who had his best training camp and preseason the past month, is likely a big reason the team was willing to cut Jones. Smoot can now be the dependable backup to Calais Campbell at big end the team needs — and he’s five years younger than Jones. — Michael DiRocco — Mike DiRocco

Released: OT Ka’John Armstrong, WR Tyre Brady, TE Donnie Ernsberger, CB Tae Hayes, WR Quadree Henderson, RB Elijah Hood, DT Mike Hughes, DT Lyndon Johnson, TE Charles Jones, DL Datone Jones, WR Raphael Leonard, WR Tre McBride, QB Alex McGough, CB Quenton Meeks, TE Carson Meier, S Joshua Moon, CB Picasso Nelson, RB Thomas Rawls, S C.J. Reavis, CB Saivion Smith, OL Bunchy Stallings, LB Connor Strachan, DT Kalani Vakameilalo, WR Michael Walker, CB Brandon Watson, OL Josh Wells, DT Andrew Williams, LB Ramik Wilson, TE Ethan Wolf
Waived/injured: OT Donnell Greene, RB Devante Mays, OL K.C. McDermott, OL Leonard Wester
Waived/injury settlement: LB Davis Tull Injured reserve: OT Ben Ijalana, WR Terrelle Pryor
Non-football Injury: LB Jake Ryan

The Titans traded third-year wideout Taywan Taylor to the Browns in exchange for a 2020 draft pick. Taylor was a third-round pick of the Titans in 2017. The move comes as a bit of a surprise given how Taylor was considered to be the Titans’ best field-stretching wideout and listed as a starter on the initial unofficial depth chart. Taylor struggled in the preseason opener dropping a pass and failing to get both feet in bounds on another target. The Titans open the season against Cleveland. Former undrafted free agent receivers Darius Jennings and Kalif Raymond both had solid performances during training camp, and landed roster spots. Jennings brings extra value as a kick returner and versatility to line up at any of the receiver spots while Raymond doubles as a punt returner. — Turron Davenport

Waived: P Austin Barnard, RB Alex Barnes, DL Amani Bledsoe, OLB Eric Cotton, CB Kenneth Durden, LB Ukeme Eligwe, C Hronis Grasu, OL A.T. Hall, DL Frank Herron, TE Parker Hesse, TE Ryan Hewitt, WR Cody Hollister, DL Braxton Hoyett, RB Akeem Hunt, DB Mike Jordan, C Corey Levin, OLB LaTroy Lewis, T Tyler Marz, WR Tanner McEvoy, RB Jeremy McNichols, DL Chris Nelson, CB Kareem Orr, OL Austin Pasztor, CB D’Andre Payne, WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams, OLB Derrick Roberson, LB Quart’e Sapp, OL Aaron Stinnie, S JoJo Tillery, WR Papi White, QB Logan Woodside, S Ladarius Wiley, WR DeAngelo Yancey
Reserve, non-football injury: DT Jeffery Simmons
Reserve/suspended: LT Taylor Lewan


The Broncos’ depth chart at quarterback is Joe Flacco — and that’s it. While rookie quarterback Drew Lock was on the initial roster, the Broncos will move Lock to injured reserve in the coming days because of a thumb injury he suffered in the preseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers. That makes Flacco the only healthy quarterback. It also means a backup quarterback, one who could be up to speed by the time the Broncos open the regular season Sept. 9 in Oakland, will be added as quickly as possible. Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway said Saturday the Broncos are searching for a quarterback with some knowledge of the team’s offense. — Jeff Legwold

Waived: FB George Aston, T Quinn Bailey, WR Trinity Benson, LB Keishawn Bierria, T Adam Bisnowaty, C/G Jake Brendel, WR Fred Brown, ILB/S Jamal Carter, CB Rashard Causey, S Su’a Cravens, WR Stephen Dunbar Jr., OLB Ahmad Gooden, QB Kevin Hogan, CB Alijah Holder, RB Devontae Jackson, CB Trey Johnson, C/G Sam Jones, OL Tyler Jones, WR Brendan Langley, T John Leglue, WR Kelvin McKnight, RB Khalfani Muhammad, QB Brett Rypien, DE Deyon Sizer, CB Linden Stephens, TE Moral Stephens, RB David Williams, DE DeShawn Williams
Released: G/T Don Barclay, TE Orson Charles, T Chaz Green, S Shamarko Thomas
PUP: None
Waived/injured: C Ryan Crozier, LB Joe Dineen, OLB Dadi Nicolas, S Dymonte Thomas
Reserve/suspended: None


There really were no surprises among the Cowboys’ final cuts, but if you said back in March when George Iloka signed as a free agent he wouldn’t make the team, then that would have been a little surprising. Iloka was released, but he has a shoulder injury after not playing in the final two games and is looking at surgery. He signed a one-year deal that included $210,000 in guaranteed base salary, which the Cowboys would not owe if he joined another team. Iloka, who has 79 starts in seven seasons, spent most of training camp working with the backups and had just one day of splitting reps with the first teamers before his injury did not allow him to practice. If Ezekiel Elliott reports at some point before next week’s opener, the Cowboys likely will be granted a roster exemption but if Elliott is active for the game, they would have to make a roster move.— Todd Archer

Waived: P/K Kasey Redfern, QB Mike White, QB Taryn Christion, WR Reggie Davis, WR Cedrick Wilson, RB Darius Jackson, CB Donovan Olumba, CB Mike Jackson, CB Treston Decoud, CB Chris Westry, RB Mike Weber, LB Kyle Queiro, FB Ryan Yurachek, LB Nate Hall, LB Justin Phillips, RB Jordan Chunn, LS Drew Scott, LB Chris Covington, OL Juwann Bushell-Beatty, OL Lukayus McNeil, OT Jake Campos, DE Daniel Wise, OT Mitch Hyatt, DL Shakir Soto, DT Ricky Walker, DE Jalen Jelks, TE Marcus Lucas, WR Jalen Guyton
Released: S George Iloka
Waived/injured: TE Codey McElroy, CB Tyvis Powell, S Jameill Showers
Reserve/physically unable to perform: WR Noah Brown
Injured reserve: OT Cody Wichmann, DE Daniel Ross, WR Jon’Vea Johnson, DE Jalen Jelks
Reserve/suspended: DE Robert Quinn

Coach Pat Shurmur always says it doesn’t matter when you were drafted once you’re part of the program. That proved true during final cuts when the Giants severed ties with last year’s fourth-round QB Kyle Lauletta. It’s an interesting approach considering Lauletta was among the first selections of the Dave Gettleman-Shurmur regime. Instead, they kept veteran Alex Tanney as their third quarterback. Lauletta had a strong preseason after a tumultuous rookie year marred by an arrest stemming from a motor vehicle incident. He completed 59.7 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions, which included the walk-off game-winner Thursday night in New England. Lauletta’s career with the Giants ends with five pass attempts and no completions. — Jordan Raanan

Waived: QB Kyle Lauletta, RB Jon Hilliman, WR Alex Wesley, WR Reggie White Jr., TE C.J. Conrad, TE Jake Powell, C Evan Brown, C James O’Hagan, OL Malcolm Bunche, OL Victor Salako, OL Paul Adams, OL Chad Wheeler, CB Henre’ Tolliver, CB Terrell Sinkfield, CB Ronald Zamort, DL Freedom Akinmoladun, DL John Jenkins, DE Jake Carlock, OLB Joey Alfieri, OLB Avery Moss, DL Jake Ceresna, DL Chris Slayton, LB Keion Adams, LB Josiah Tauaefa, S Tenny Adewusi, S Kenny Ladler, S Kamrin Moore, LS Taybor Pepper, P Johnny Townsend
Released: DL John Jenkins, WR T.J. Jones, OLB Terrence Fede
Injured Reserve : TE Scott Simonson, RB Rod Smith, LB Jonathan Anderson, OT George Asafo-Adjei, WR Brittan Golden
Reserve/suspended: WR Golden Tate

The Eagles released their top two rushers from a year ago, Josh Adams and Wendell Smallwood. That says a lot about both the 2018 running back group and the upgrades they made at the position this offseason. Philly made a trade with Chicago for Jordan Howard, drafted Miles Sanders in the second round and re-signed Darren Sproles. Those moves, coupled with Corey Clement‘s return to health, left Adams and Smallwood on the outside looking in. But they should both find jobs. — Tim McManus

Waived: RB Josh Adams, TE Alex Ellis, DT Treyvon Hester, G Sua Opeta, TE Joshua Perkins, RB Boston Scott, RB Wendell Smallwood, QB Clayton Thorson, T Brett Toth, WR Greg Ward, WR Carlton Agudosi, S Trae Elston, C Anthony Fabiano, S Deiondre’ Hall, CB Ajene Harris, CB Josh Hawkins, QB Cody Kessler, T Riley Mayfield, CB Jeremiah McKinnon, WR Marken Michel, RB Donnel Pumphrey, G Keegan Render, CB Sojourn Shelton, LB Alex Singleton, WR DeAndre Thompkins, S Jason Thompson, DT Kevin Wilkins, LB Chris Worley, DT Aziz Shittu (injured)
Released: G/C Stefen Wisniewski, DE Kasim Edebali, DE Eli Harold, LB Hayes Pullard, CB Orlando Scandrick, TE Will Tye
PUP: CB Jalen Mills
Reserve/suspended: TE Richard Rodgers


Maybe it wasn’t that surprising, but it’s still interesting to see the Falcons go with undrafted Olamide Zaccheaus (5-foot-8, 193 pounds) as the extra receiver over sixth-round draft pick Marcus Green (5-8, 191). Both Zaccheaus and Green auditioned in the return game and both fumbled opportunities during preseason games. But Zaccheaus, plain and simple, made plenty of big plays as a wide receiver in both practice and the games. He showed he’s a smart player, being in the right places and knowing how to position himself to get the edge on the defender. Plus, he can thrive in coverage on special teams, which is important. Veteran running back Kenjon Barner is the return specialist, as the Falcons kept six running backs, including Brian Hill and fullback Ricky Ortiz. — Vaughn McClure

Released: WR Marcus Green, TE Logan Paulsen, DE Austin Larkin, S Chris Cooper, OG Sean Harlow, LB Bruce Carter, QB Danny Etling, K Blair Walsh, K Giorgio Tavecchio, WR Christian Blake, DT Justin Zimmer, WR C.J. Worton, WR Devin Gray, CB Jalen Myrick, S Ronald Martin, LB Chase Middleton, DE Durrant Miles, C Chandler Miller, DE Chris Odom, FB Ricky Ortiz, CB Ryan Neal, DB Parker Baldwin, LB Del’Shawn Phillips, RB Tony Brooks-James, LB Tre’ Crawford, LB Yurik Bethune, DT Stefan Charles, TE Thomas Duarte, T Jaelin Robinson, DT Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, OL John Wetzel, OL Adam Gettis
Waived/injured: LB Richie Brown, CB Taveze Calhoun, TE Alex Gray
Waived/injury settlement: DB Jayson Stanley, LB Del’Shawn Phillips
Injured reserve: QB Matt Simms
Reserve/suspended: DT Ra’Shege Hageman (two games)

Most of the attention when the initial cuts were made on Friday was on kicker Graham Gano (sore plant leg), who was placed on injured reserve. That leaves the kicking duties to Joey Slye, a 2017 undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech, who seems like a safe choice considering he made 7-of-8 preseason field goals, including three more than 50 yards. Overshadowed was the release of veteran RB Cameron Artis-Payne, leaving the job as Christian McCaffrey‘s backup to rookies Jordan Scarlett, Elijah Holyfield and former Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon. In reality, they’re fighting for table scraps as McCaffrey, who played 91.3 percent of the snaps a year ago, is slated to get more touches this season. There were only four spots open before final cuts, so little drama all around after Gano. — David Newton

Waived: LB Brandon Bell, G Tyler Catalina, C Parker Collins, CB Corn Elder, DT Woodrow Hamilton, G Taylor Hearn, TE Cole Hunt, WR Damion Jeanpiere Jr, WR Andre Levrone, WR Jaydon Mickens, CB Ryan Pulley, WR Rashad Ross, TE Jason Vander Laan, LB Antwione Williams, C John Yarborough, WR Terry Godwin, DE Bryan Cox Jr., LB Jared Norris, S Cole Luke, G Richard Cook, S Corrion Ballard, CB Josh Thornton, S Quin Blanding, TE Temarrick Hemingway, DT Bijhon Jackson, LB Sione Teuhema, WR DeAndrew White.
Terminated vested veterans: RB Cameron Artis-Payne, LS Andrew DePaola, CB Lorenzo Doss, QB Taylor Heinicke, WR Aldrick Robinson.
Waived/injured: G Kofi Amichia, S Damien Parms. Marcus Baugh.
Reserve/suspended: PK Graham Gano, G Kitt O’Brien.

NFC West

After trimming their roster, the Rams are left with three running backs, somewhat of a surprise after they carried four last season and given the uncertainty around Todd Gurley’s left knee. Second-year pro John Kelly and third-year pro Justin Davis were waived. Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson will play behind Gurley, though general manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay left the door open Saturday to more moves that could alter the group. “We have a couple things that could explain that a little later down the road,” Snead said. “You’ll get some clarity because of some moves that we may or may not make,” McVay said. — Lindsey Thiry

Waived: QB Brandon Allen, LB Dakota Allen, G Abdul Beecham, TE Kendall Blanton, G Chandler Brewer, TE Romelio Brooker, TE Keenen Brown, RB Matt Colburn, DT Marquise Copeland, RB Justin Davis, DB Dont’e Deayon, OLB Landis Durham, DL John Franklin-Myers, S Jake Gervase, WR Jalen Greene, OG Brandon Hitner, WR KhaDarel Hodge, C Vitas Hrynkiewicz, DL Bryant Jones, OL Matt Kaskey, RB John Kelly, OL Jeremiah Kolone, LB Ketner Kupp, WR Johnathan Lloyd, P Brock Miller, DB Steven Parker, DB Kevin Peterson, WR Austin Proehl, CB Ramon Richards, DT Boogie Roberts, QB John Wolford
Waived/Injured: WR Alex Bachman, LB Josh Carraway, DB Dominique Hatfield, LB Trevon Young
Injured Reserve: LB Micah Kiser
Suspended: C Aaron Neary

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