The Raiders open the 2019 season against the Broncos, but linebacker Brandon Marshall won’t be in the lineup against his former team.
PFT has learned, via a league source, that the Raiders are releasing Marshall as they drop to 53 players by Saturday afternoon’s deadline. Marshall has tweeted out a farewell to the team.
Marshall signed with the Raiders this offseason after spending the last six seasons with the Broncos. He had three tackles in three preseason appearances and did not play in Thursday night’s finale.
Marshall is a Las Vegas native said this offseason that the Raiders sold him on helping the team “plant the flag” in their new home when they were trying to get him to sign a one-year deal. That flag planting will fall to others now that the Raiders are moving on without Marshall.
When "The Turk" comes to get you, it means only one thing.
The script is largely the same: "Coach wants to see you ... bring your playbook."
Turk is the unofficial title for the staffer whose job it is to collect players and take them to the general managers and coaches to be cut.
Jets GM Joe Douglas even gained some notoriety early in his career as the Baltimore Ravens' Turk in the inaugural season of HBO's "Hard Knocks."
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Los Angeles Rams players in the 1950s called this guy "squeaky shoes" because they could hear him coming down a dorm hallway to do his work.
No matter the job title, he'll be busy this weekend. By 4 p.m. ET Saturday, more than 1,000 players will lose jobs.
"It's the worst day of the year," Tampa Bay Buccaneers director of player engagement Duke Preston said. "It's just bad. Like even Thursday after the [final preseason] game, it's like you're on the plane and you know that there's 37 guys whose dreams end ... in a matter of hours."
Here's what it's really like inside NFL cut-down day:
Delivering the bad newsMost rosters are at 90 this week and must be down to 53 by Saturday. If you're going to be one of the Green Bay Packers' 37 roster moves, whether that's injured reserve, practice squad, outright release or another option, general manager Brian Gutekunst wants to make it as humane as possible.
Gutekunst, the second-year GM and longtime Packers scout, said the team uses the process established by his predecessor, Ted Thompson.
"He demanded that this be done a certain way, and there's no wiggle room there," Gutekunst said.
Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst, right, learned his method of cutting players from predecessor Ted Thompson (wearing hat). Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire"Ted, being a former player who was probably always on the bubble his entire career, he was very sensitive to that."
That means no cryptic messages leaving players anxiously wondering what it might mean.
"We tell them, 'We're putting you on waivers and we'd like you to come up and discuss it,'" Gutekunst said. "And we lay out for them what that means because for a lot of these guys, it's the first time going through this process. So we want them to understand and make sure that we talk to their agent -- and any honest feedback about what they can improve on, we make sure we give that to them."
Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman calls the 72 hours following the final preseason game the most hectic time of the year next to the NFL draft and free agency.
In the days leading up to cut-down weekend, Spielman, Vikings coaches, scouts and others in the personnel department have already had upward of seven meetings going over various roster scenarios.
After the team returns from Buffalo on Friday, Minnesota will finalize decisions on the bottom eight to 10 players on the 90-man roster before releasing the first cuts that afternoon while practice squad candidates are being decided.
There are a lot of moving parts and Spielman is listening to a lot of voices.
"You're trying to come up with a collective decision," Spielman said. "There's lobbying going on just like there is during the draft. We try to do things collectively, and the decision is going to come down collectively to what we think is best for the Minnesota Vikings. Ultimately, that's my responsibility, but I always try to get it where we're all on the same page."
From there, telling players becomes a combination of grace, tact and efficiency.
Shelton Quarles, Tampa Bay's director of football operations, is the person charged with informing players they've been cut. He is particularly sensitive to the situation. As an undrafted free agent in 1994, he was cut during training camp by the Miami Dolphins.
Understanding that feeling helps him tailor his conversations with players.
"I try to shape [the message] based on who the player is and what their attributes are, if I think they have a shot at making a roster, then I'll shape it a little bit differently," Quarles said. "If I don't think that they'll have a chance, then I'll soften it up a bit. ... More times than not, I'm gonna be soft in my delivery of the message to the players."
The newly departed: 'Like breaking up with your girlfriend'Whether the message is delivered with a tap on the shoulder, text or dorm-room phone call, for the players on the bubble, cut-down day is a waiting game.
"You start micromanaging everything like, 'Damn, I had this little mistake or this little mistake,' " Washington Redskins running back Byron Marshall said. "[Cuts] typically happen in the morning. So what I do is try to stay up as late as I can and sleep the whole morning and as long as my phone don't wake me up when I'm asleep, I can wake up happy because that way you don't have the anxiety kicking in."
"And every time you got a call, it was just like breaking up with a girlfriend. It was, 'It's not you, it's me' kind of nonsense. 'We're going another direction,' or, 'You did great, but' .... And it was always funny.""Former Saint, and cut-down day expert, Jed Collins"Just sitting there, chilling, on the phone, hoping yours don't ring," Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon said. "It's a real emotional time. I wouldn't want anybody to go through that, but it's the business."
Former New Orleans Saints fullback Jed Collins calls himself an expert on getting cut. Over an eight-year career with 10 different teams, he was released from an active roster or practice squad 10 times. After being cut by eight teams in his first three years, he finally played his first NFL game in his fourth season.
"And every time you got a call, it was just like breaking up with a girlfriend," Collins said. "It was, 'It's not you, it's me' kind of nonsense. 'We're going another direction,' or, 'You did great, but.'
"... And it was always funny. I did begin to judge teams and organizations based on how they got rid of you (from whether the head coach met with you personally to whether they packed up your locker or gave you a garbage bag)."
There's a cruel math to the day and a whole lot of gallows humor. Players on the bubble know that as their teammates get cut, it increases the chances they'll make the team.
"It's one day where all these people lose their jobs and if you lose it, you're hoping, 'Well, are they going to keep me here? Is someone else going to get me?'" said Marshall, the Washington running back.
"The main thing you are thinking about is the roster spots, and the cut of the roster and [how it will get] to 53 people," said Houston Texans safety A.J. Moore, who was released by the New England Patriots on cut-down day last year.
Coaches suffer and families prepareJaguars coach Doug Marrone walked into his news conference Sunday grumpy and pretty much stayed that way the entire week, because he loathes what he has to do: cut 37 players.
"I'll relate to the anxiety with a lot of the players that've been giving us everything they have, and trying to make it in the NFL, and in a couple days, everybody's life changes," Marrone said. "Obviously, [it's] one thing [that] hits me a little bit harder, probably, than most, because I've been through it."
A lot, actually.
Marrone was drafted in the sixth round by the Los Angeles Raiders in 1986. Over the next five years, the former offensive lineman had stints with Miami, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Minnesota. He appeared in only five NFL games and was cut six times before his playing career ended after two seasons (1991-92) with the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football.
"I don't think you ever get immune to that. People who are immune to that are bulls---ting."Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone, on making cutsThat's why he hates this week.
Marrone has received the phone call and the reminder to bring his playbook. He has been on the other side of the desk in a head coach's office and heard the clichés. He knows what it feels like when someone tells you that you're not good enough and what it's like to walk back into the locker room, throw your stuff in a bag, and walk past former teammates trying not to make eye contact.
Marrone has had to do the cutting four times as a head coach -- two years with Buffalo and the past two with Jacksonville -- and it hasn't become any easier.
"I don't think you ever get immune to that," Marrone said. "People who are immune to that are bulls---ting. I think people that are immune to that have no appreciation for what these people do. They have no appreciation for what goes on in their family."
Just like free agency or the trade deadline, families get caught in the middle of these transactions. At times, that significant other is a player's emotional support and the person who sees an NFL player's most vulnerable moments.
"I saw it firsthand as a player," Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. "I was one of those guys that didn't know early in my career. You have long conversations at night with your girlfriend or your fiancée, your wife about, 'I don't know if I'm going to make it.'"
After those conversations, if bad news is indeed delivered, wives, girlfriends and significant others are affected and try to find any way to help.
Jessica Marshall, Byron Marshall's wife, is a trauma intensive care unit nurse in San Jose, California. She approaches the day as she would with one of her patients.
"For me, it's easy because of my career path being empathetic and sympathetic to the situation they're in," she said. "[It's] 'OK, what's the next plan? What are the other options we have?' Not letting anyone sit around and mope and keep their morale up."
One of Collins' wife's jobs was the household moving company.
"She would be behind me, packing up things," Collins said. "Finally by the fourth or fifth time, we were like, 'Sell all the crap. We don't know where or when this is gonna end.'"
When it's overAgents such as Kelli Masters have an emotional investment in their clients' success, not just a financial one. But their livelihood is at stake just the same. In 2009, after representing NFL players since 2006, she was finally going to see a player survive cut-down day.
Julius Crosslin, a Dallas Cowboys fullback, had spent his rookie season on their practice squad after going undrafted in 2008 and was in position to make the team the next year. He had started the first three preseason games, then averaged 4.7 yards on nine carries in the finale. Masters was optimistic.
"Some guys are devastated. Other guys are numb to it and lost."Duke Preston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers director of player engagementThen came the call from Jerry Jones' right-hand man, Todd Williams, who delivered the double whammy of bad news. Not only were the Cowboys waiving Crosslin, they weren't interested in keeping him for their practice squad.
"I just collapsed to the floor," Masters recalled. "I sat down on the floor just in disbelief, like, 'When is it actually going to happen?'
"I can't compare my experience to players who work their entire lives and are in that moment. It's a totally different situation. But ... as an agent, after investing so much time and so many resources into recruiting and working so hard to try to get players in the right position to have an opportunity, and years into it, to still feel like I was a complete failure was just devastating."
Some players who get the call on cut-down day are on their way to a new city in 24 hours. Some of the bigger agencies have client-services departments that assist with all the logistical challenges that come with being uprooted overnight. Masters -- who represents more than a dozen NFL players as the founder, CEO and chief player agent of KMM Sports, including Seahawks receiver David Moore and free-agent running back Alex Collins -- said she prefers to handle that herself.
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"You have to have great relationships with relocation companies and lots of resources to tap into," she said. "I've done it so many times now, I know who to call if we've got to transport a dog, I know who we need to call if it's shipping vehicles or packing up a house, cleaning -- all of those things that have to be done."
For those in the team facilities, there is a wide range of emotions, no matter the news.
"Some guys are devastated. Other guys are numb to it and lost," said Preston, the Bucs' front-office staffer. "And other guys, truly it's a relief. I think it spans the gamut of experiences."
Said Spielman: "Some guys are very quiet, some guys break down, some guys this is the only thing they have so you're affecting their lives, their families' lives and that's very difficult to deal with." Some players will be put on the practice squad or be picked up by other teams.
Wide receiver Rod Smith, who would go on to win two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos, was an undrafted free agent in 1994 and wasn't sure what his status would be as his rookie training camp was ending. He was riding a stationary bike when he got yanked out of his workout.
Bob Ferguson, the Broncos' GM at the time, told Smith he was being released but that Denver intended to sign him to the practice squad.
"So I'm like, 'You mean I don't have to go home?' " Smith said. "[Ferguson] said, 'No, you don't have to go home,' so I didn't really hear anything he said after that, after he said that I didn't have to go home, I didn't hear a word he said.
Dennis Gardeck's first cut-down day had a happy ending. Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire"Then I said, 'Can I go finish my workout?'"
Then, sometimes, this terrible day isn't all that bad.
Arizona Cardinals special-teamer Dennis Gardeck got the tap last preseason. Gardeck, who was an undrafted rookie free agent, was in the locker room when a staff member came up to him, tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Scooby, come with me."
The staff member had Gardeck confused with Scooby Wright, another 6-foot, long-haired linebacker.
"I was like, 'I'm not Scooby,' " Gardeck said. "I thought I was done."
So yup, plenty of tears and plenty of new Walmart employees. But at least this year, these guys will have the chance to try out for the XFL in a couple of months so the dream can live on.
The Houston Texans have engaged five different teams in discussions over a possible trade of franchise tag defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the most significant discussions have come with the Miami Dolphins. However, the Texans have also spoken with the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins and New York Jets in regards to the standout pass rusher.
“Nothing has advanced” with any of the teams outside of Miami at this point. Additionally, any trade with Washington appears to be dead as they won’t part with left tackle Trent Williams. Clowney reportedly prefers the Eagles or Seahawks as possible destinations.
Clowney cannot be traded without first signing his franchise tag tender, which gives him leverage in the discussions as long as he’s willing to remain home and not report to the Texans. Additionally, Clowney doesn’t currently have an agent representing him after firing Bus Cook. Clowney has met with Dolphins head coach Brian Flores after the Texans gave the two sides permission to do so.
Getting all of the variables to come together in such a way that everyone can feel satisfied may be a tough ask. Even if a trade comes together, that team won’t be able to negotiate a new contract for Clowney until after the 2019 season with no guarantees Clowney will spend more than one season at his new destination.
NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo pointed out a dynamic that the Dallas Cowboys haven’t tried all that hard to hide: Their propensity for cutting out the middleman and dealing directly with players who are represented by agents.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL Players Association views the situation as “not good,” and currently is doing its due diligence before taking any official action and/or issuing any formal statement.
It won’t be hard for the union to piece together evidence. On Wednesday, owner Jerry Jones essentially confessed to 105.3 the Fan in Dallas that the Cowboys like to cut out the middleman whenever and however they can.
“[T]hat’s always been the issue with me and my approach to managing the Cowboys,” Jerry Jones said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “When you cut out the people in between the money and the player, we all know that agents, attorneys have their agenda. By the way, they are all taking money out of the pie too when they’re there. The straighter it goes from the source to the one receiving it, nine times out of 10 that’s more efficient.”
Ten times out of 10 that’s better for the team, which would love to be able to run roughshod over players who don’t have agents protecting their interests. And it surely seems as if the Cowboys routinely go straight to the player to get deals done.
Consider this comment from Cowboys COO Stephen Jones at the camp-opening press conference regarding the team’s ability to work out a deal with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence: “We sat there forever and then all of a sudden, we had a good little visit with DeMarcus and things happened like quickly. Inside of like 24 hours you’re home.”
That’s likely one of the reasons why running back Ezekiel Elliott is holding out. If he’s not in camp, the Joneses can’t put the squeeze on him. And they have no choice but to deal with his agent, Rocky Arceneaux.
Which they’d rather not do. Which is the best evidence of the value of having a good agent. And perhaps conclusive evidence that the Cowboys are taking liberties that the NFLPA will be compelled to challenge.
This post was inspired by a few comments that TheMomGene wrote in the "Fan reaction to Luck's retirement" thread, in regards to the Indianapolis Colts move from Baltimore in 1984.
As many of you may recall, when the Colts relocated from Baltimore, they just kinda did it in the middle of the night. One day they were the Baltimore Colts, and then the next day, the moving trucks were unloading all of the Colts property in Indianapolis...
Now, there was a stadium dispute that led to this move. Both the Colts and the Orioles had been complaining about how old Memorial Stadium was back in the early 1970s already. Long story short, by the time we get to January of 1984, the Colts were informed by then-mayor Schaefer, that there would be no new stadium.
In March of 1984, the NFL gave owner Robert Irsay permission to move the Colts to any city he wanted. He negotiated with both Phoenix (the Cardinals were still in St. Louis in 1984, they wouldn't relocate to Phoenix until 1988) and Indianapolis. The city of Indianapolis was in the middle of constructing the Hoosier Dome at the time, and Irsay fell in love it, basically guaranteeing that if the Colts moved, it would be to Indianapolis.
Then, the Maryland Legislature did something incredibly stupid. On March 27, 1984, they passed a bill that granted the city of Baltimore the right to flat out seize the Colts, and all of it's assets via Eminent Domain. That move was all Irsay needed to finalize his deal with Indianapolis and leave Baltimore. However, the Governor of Maryland had yet to sign that bill into law...something he was scheduled to do in the morning on March 30. If the Colts were still in Maryland when he signs that bill, the Colts legally belong to the city of Baltimore. So Irsay acted. He got the Mayflower trucks, and between 10pm and the next morning, the Baltimore Colts ceased to exist, and the Indianapolis Colts were born.
But...that only explains how the Colts got to Indianapolis. What would happen to their history, as the Baltimore Colts? Simply put, it went with the Colts to Indianapolis. Baltimore had not only lost their team, they had lost their entire claim to the team's history. Johnny Unitas refused to have anything to do with the Indianapolis Colts...but legally, and according to the NFL, the Colts were still the team he used to play for. It was the Indianapolis Colts displaying the NFL Championship trophies, it was the Indianapolis Colts with the murals of the Hall of Famers...
Now, this makes total sense. When an NFL team relocates, of course their history goes with them. The Rams didn't give up their Super Bowl Trophy when they moved from St. Louis back to Los Angeles, the Raiders are still 3x Super Bowl champs, whether they call Oakland, Los Angeles or Las Vegas their home...I mean, why wouldn't they keep that?
Well, Baltimore kind of got screwed twice by the relocation process...you see, while MOST team relocations simply take the history with them, when Art Modell wanted to relocate the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, the city of Cleveland sued, and they had to come to an arrangement: The Browns could move, and the player contracts would move with them to Baltimore...however, the Cleveland Browns name, the uniforms, the colors, the history, the championships, etc were to remain in Cleveland. Art Modell could relocate the team itself, but he couldn't call the team the Browns, or claim any of their history.
So, when the Baltimore Ravens came into existence, while they had the Cleveland Browns roster from the previous year, their history was a total blank slate. The fans in Baltimore lost the Colts, and in return, 14 years later, basically got an expansion team in all but the roster. Hardly an equitable trade.
And therein lies the heart of this post. Is it right that the Tennessee Titans claim the history of the Houston Oilers, or should that history have stayed with the city of Houston, to be passed along to the then-expansion Houston Texans? When the Raiders move to Las Vegas next year, should they have to start from scratch?
What should the NFL do with the histories of relocated teams?
Most of the news stories revolving around the Andrew Luck surprise retirement have talked about how the fans boo'd and how evil the fans are. Most of the players and media came out condemning the fans while a few in the media tried to express fan frustration at the entire situation.
What is your view? Did fans have a right to boo?
My view is that they were. You've been at the stadium for hours, paying full price to watch the guy who will be working at Walmart next week tackle the guy who will be at Burger King while the future XFL backup misses his block so you aren't in the best of moods. You've been dealing with Luck injuries for years but now is the time the Colts are on their way up. You see Andrew Luck on the sideline laughing and joking with his buddies and he has been telling the media that he thinks he'll be ready for week one when suddenly the word starts to spread around the stadium that Luck is going to call it quits. So the game mercifully ends with an awful performance by the Colts and you are supposed to be happy? The fans that have been lied to for years about Luck's health are suddenly supposed to forget all of the times that Irsay and the rest of the Colts lied to them about the coming good times? About Luck's actual health?
The moment that they knew that Luck was retiring they should have called a press conference but instead they tried to keep it quiet for days and they got caught looking foolish when it leaked a head of time. But it is actually the perfect example of Luck's time with the Colts, tons of opportunity but they managed to mess up the delivery and wasted a generational opportunity.
Raiders receiver Antonio Brown has lost again. And he has won. Again.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the “neutral, independent arbitrator” has found that Brown must find a new helmet model, and that he can not wear the Schutt AiR Advantage. It’s the second time Brown has lost a helmet grievance in less than two weeks.
Brown will accept the decision and move forward in a new helmet. He has narrowed his options, after hearing from multiple companies that wanted to customize a helmet, and that want to pay him to wear it. Thus, on top of the $30 million he’ll make over the next two seasons with the Raiders, he’ll get something more from a helmet manufacturer.
So stay tuned. Brown has every intention of playing in 15 days on the first Monday night of the season, and he’ll be wearing something other than the Schutt AiR Advantage. Though the new manufacturer may not get as much bang for the buck that Schutt has enjoyed over the past 16 days, at least the next helmet model attached to Brown’s name won’t be one that has been discontinued.
Andrew Luck's injury prone career in the NFL appears to be over. ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Luck will hold a press conference tomorrow (Sunday) to announce his retirement from the NFL. Jacoby Brissett is expected to be named the Colts starting QB for week 1.
Outside linebacker Brandon Copeland, who started 10 games for Gang Green last year, was suspended for the first four games of the 2019 season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
The suspension comes less than a week after New York also lost starting inside linebacker Avery Williamson to a season-ending torn ACL.
Copeland is free to return to the team on Oct. 7 after New York's Week 4 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
An undrafted free agent out of Penn, Copeland joined the Detroit Lions in 2015, spending three seasons with the club before joining the Jets in 2018. After his breakout year, when he tallied five sacks and 14 QB hits in 10 starts, Copeland signed another one-year deal with the Jets.
Despite that great season, Copeland was no sure thing to make the roster. He played deep into New York's second preseason game and had been listed as a potential cut candidate by some local outlets.
The Jets will have to replace Copeland with Frankie Luvu, Jachai Polite and whoever they pick up off the waiver wire for the first quarter of the campaign.