As expected, Seattle Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes) and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart(notes) were the highest-profile players to lose their current spots as NFL teams reduced their rosters to 53 names by 6:00 EDT on Saturday afternoon. Houshmandzadeh was a bad fit with a new Seattle organization, and Leinart simply never lived up to the expectations that go with the top-10 pick status he received in 2006. Rookie free agent Max Hall(notes) clearly outplayed Leinart, and reclamation project Mike Williams helped make Houshmandzadeh expendable.
And before you think, "Well, Leinart went to USC and was coached by Pete Carroll, so Leinart will land in Seattle," keep in mind that just-released quarterback Patrick Ramsey(notes), formerly of the Saints, played for the Denver Broncos in 2007 and 2008 when current offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was there. Ramsey seems a more reasonable option. The Seahawks also acquired Eagles lineman Stacy Andrews and lost legendary line coach Alex Gibbs to an apparent retirement.
Here are some other notable cuts:
Arizona Cardinals: We talked about Cody Brown and Monty Beisel in yesterday's blog post about early cuts. Leinart wasn't a surprise at all.
Buffalo Bills: Wayne State running back Joique Bell(notes) lost a numbers game at the position, but I have little doubt that he can help another team. Bell is a big back with agility and ability. Former New England second-round pick Chad Jackson(notes) was cut after accomplishing very little in Buffalo - that's one Bill Belichick is going to want to forget. Of course, the Bills also cut receiver James Hardy(notes), their own former second-rounder. As we shall see, it was a very bad day for second-rounders overall.
Carolina Panthers: A bit of a surprise to see defensive tackle Tank Tyler(notes) cut; Tyler made some plays with the Chiefs a while back. But the Panthers had the best preseason defense by far, and they obviously feel great about the guys they're keeping.
Chicago Bears: Guard Josh Beekman(notes) was a fourth-round pick in 2007, and was thought to be part of the Bears' future. And it won't help his rep that he couldn't stick on the team with the worst pass-blocking line in the NFL. WR Juaquin Iglesias(notes), a third-rounder last year, was Sam Bradford's(notes) favorite target at Oklahoma, but never managed to stand out at the NFL level.
Cincinnati Bengals: Former Kansas WR Dez Briscoe was extremely productive in college and may have been lost in the shuffle with all the focus in Chad Ochocinco(notes), Terrell Owens(notes), and rookies Jermaine Gresham(notes) and Jordan Shipley(notes). Matt Jones(notes) was also cut; it would be a big surprise if the former first-round pick's career isn't over.
Denver Broncos: Denver cut former Pats DE Jarvis Green(notes), leaving them with very little in the way of a front line. They also released Brandon Stokley(notes), who was probably made redundant with the ascent of rookie Eric Decker(notes). And in a stunning move, Denver sent 2009 second-round CB Alfonso Smith(notes) to the Lions for TE Dan Gronkowski(notes). You'll remember that Smith was the kid that had Denver sending a 2010 first-round pick to Seattle last year for the right to trade up.
Miami Dolphins: The Tuna-led Fins admitted a mistake by releasing quarterback Pat White(notes), who was neither fish nor fowl in Miami's Wildcat offense. White was a speed option guy in school, and he never caught up to the more complex arrays in Miami. And former USC receiver Patrick Turner(notes), taken in the third round just last year, was also jettisoned.
New England Patriots: Reports have the Pats releasing OLB Derrick Burgess(notes), which could hurt both parties. Burgess isn't what he used to be, but the New England pass rush can't afford any more hits.
New York Jets: No real shockers among the "Hard Knocks" crew, though LB Brashton Satele(notes) seemed to impress in camp, and I think you could have received decent odds on rookie running back Joe McKnight(notes) not making the team, though he actually did.
Philadelphia Eagles: DB Macho Harris(notes) was taken by Philly in the fifth round just last season, but he never found a spot at either cornerback or safety, and rookie Trevard Lindley(notes) outplayed him this preseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Center Justin Hartwig(notes) is a fairly big name; he signed a four-year, $10 million contract with Pittsburgh just last season. But he was overmatched as a run blocker, and rookie Maurkice Pouncey(notes) simply beat him out.
San Diego Chargers: The trade for ex-Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton(notes) sealed Josh Reed's(notes) fate, and former Bears safety Nathan Vasher(notes), who hasn't played a full season since 2005, couldn't make the cut, either.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs have already cast RB Derrick Ward(notes) aside just one year after signing him to a four-year, $17 million contract. Now, they've added WR Michael Clayton(notes) to that big pile of dead cash. Just one year after outbidding the Seahawks for WR Michael Clayton's services and giving him a five-year, $24 million deal, Tampa Bay has cut Clayton as well. It's safe to say that Bucs GM Mark Dominik has had his share of rocky moments early on.
NFL teams can start adding to their practice squads tomorrow, which is when many of these names will find new roster spots.