The NFL season is upon us, but first franchises had to trim their rosters down to 53 players with their final cut day. And wow, was it a bad few days for former Hawks looking to make a roster. Let’s go, I guess?
All 32 NFL teams had to trim their roster to 53 players by Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. EST. Unlike previous years where the roster cuts were staggered over the month of August from 85 to 80 to 53, this year featured a single major cut day to get to 53. Some teams have small cut lists, as they operated like they had in the past, while other teams have longer lists as they had more to trim. Here’s the complete list of everyone cut from CBS Sports.
Unfortunately for former Hawks, the last few days were tough. A few players were casualties of multiple cuts. Here is Iowa’s cut list, as well as those that made rosters, from the last few days, per Scott Dochterman (Scott does an awesome job compiling this every year, so kudos to him). In a word - WOOF.
A look at @HawkeyeFootball players making NFL initial rosters (28) & those cut (20) over the last week or so. Expect 1-3 active signings, perhaps a cut and quite a few practice squad pickups today.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) August 30, 2023
Roster spots worth noting: Kaevon Merriweather (Bucs), Zach VanValkenburg (Rams) pic.twitter.com/xHeQabC38F
That’s a ton of guys. The standouts to me were the Texans cutting both Christian Kirksey and Desmond King. I understand Kirksey – he turns 31 tomorrow so you can see the logic there. Cuts like this happen to guys around that age all the time, despite an otherwise successful previous season and him still having gas left in the tank (at least I think he still has some gas left in the tank). King is little more curious given he filled multiple positions, but the Texans aren’t very good. I don’t follow them at all so perhaps I’m mistaken, but they appear to still be in that “cut cap/obtain draft capital and see what happens” portion of a rebuild.
Not all was lost for King – despite the bad news of that cut, he was immediately acquired by Pittsburgh on a one-year deal. Pittsburgh is King’s fourth NFL stop, joining the Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee, and Houston.
Veteran corner Desmond King is signing to the #Steelers on a one-year deal, per source.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 30, 2023
While it was a tough day writ large, not all of those cuts were unexpected and not everything was lost. You can see from the list/tweet above from Doc that a couple of Hawks did make rosters from otherwise tough positions. One standout is Kaevon Merriweather, who made the Tampa Bay roster despite being an undrafted free agent. That marks six undrafted rookies on the Tampa roster. Zach VanValkenburg is another, making the Los Angeles Rams final roster after being a practice squad player for Las Vegas and the LA Rams.
One other notable move was Ihmir Smith-Marsette. ISM has bounced around a bit as well, and he now finds himself in a new home as he was traded from Kansas City to Carolina yesterday.
After final cut day, Iowa lands 28 players on active rosters. Please hit the comments with any further updates on practice squad additions or other roster moves that could happen between now and next week. WEEK 1 BABY!