NFL’s 53-man cutdown deadline looms for players on the bubble

The saddest day in the NFL calendar has arrived.

Tuesday marks the deadline for all NFL teams to reduce rosters from 80 to 53 by 4 pm ET. Some 800 men will be fired today.

You can track each roster move with our cuts tracker.

It’s not an easy day for most of the roster outside of those few lucky enough to have a secure starting gig, nor is it fun for those making the difficult choices.

“Cutdown’s a tough day because we’ve got to say goodbye to 27 guys, and hopefully bring 16 of them back to our practice squad,” New York Jets GM Joe Douglas said during the club’s final preseason game, via the team’s official website. “It’s a tough day just because these guys have given everything they’ve had for really the last few months, so it’s tough saying goodbye to some of these guys.”

As Douglas noted, teams can bring back 16 players to their practice squads in the coming day, but that prospect doesn’t make getting cut any easier. Some will land on other teams. But for many, today will be their final day of NFL employment.

Some, like cornerback Tony Brown, have been through this wringer many times, being claimed and waived and waived and claimed. The 27-year-old is on his fifth team, trying to make the Indianapolis Colts roster.

“If you’re in the NFL, you’re part of the 1 percent,” Brown said via The Athletic. “To make it, you’ve got to be the 1 percent of the 1 percent. It’s a challenge. I’m not new to this; I know anything can happen. I’m confident I can play, whether that’s here or for another team. I look forward to being here. I’ve got good relationships with a lot of the players and coaches, but no regrets. I don’t live with regrets.

“I know these opportunities don’t come often, so I would be given if I didn’t leave it all out there. I felt like I showed my versatility on special teams, corner, slot corner, and I made some plays. It’s not going to stress me. I’m confident with what I put on tape, so if it’s not here, it’ll be somewhere else.”

For those at the bottom of the roster, sadly, they can’t exhale if they find their way onto this first 53-man compilation. Teams will claim waived players in the coming days, and those men who thought they won a job will be cast off.

Today is the first 53-man roster of many, many iterations to come before the end of the 2022 season.

It’s the most joyless process in the business of the NFL.

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