We're reaching that time of the year, again. Roster cuts are on the horizon.
Teams must reduce their rosters to 75 players by Aug. 26 and select their final 53 players by Aug. 30. That gives general manager Doug Whaley and coach Doug Marrone less than two weeks to make decisions on the roster for the Buffalo Bills.
There are two ways to approach the moves: start from the bottom of the roster and trim players to get to the limit, or start from the top of the roster and pick players until you run out of space.
We posted our 53-man roster projection earlier Monday, and as a follow-up, we'll take the first approach in analyzing potential cuts. Let's break down the 35 moves -- not including Kiko Alonso's likely placement on the non-football injury list -- into four categories:
LONG-SHOTS AND FIRST CUTS (17): These are mostly younger players who competed in training camp but saw less playing time than their peers in the preseason. They could return to the practice squad, find another team, or possibly never play in the league again. Although coaches stress that no cuts are ever "easy," these are the relatively easier cuts to make on the roster:
Quarterbacks (1): Dennis Dixon
Running backs (1): Ronnie Wingo
Defensive tackles (1): Damien Jacobs
Safeties (1): Derek Brim
TOUGHER CUTS (10): These are players who have played more than their peers in the preseason and have made a stronger push to make the roster. They might be better candidates to return to the practice squad:
Wide receivers (1): Kevin Elliott
Tight ends (1): Dominique Jones
Cornerbacks (1): Bobby Felder
Punters (1): Jake Dombrowski
ON THE BUBBLE (6): These players might draw the most debate in the room when the final 53-man roster is selected. In some cases, they are more established players and might draw interest on the waiver wire or hook on with other teams:
Fullbacks (1): Evan Rodriguez
Wide receivers (1): T.J. Graham
Offensive linemen (1): Chris Hairston
Defensive ends (1): Jacquies Smith
Defensive tackles (1): Landon Cohen
Kickers (1): Dustin Hopkins
RUSTED LOCKS (2): These are players who were considered roster locks in the offseason but have suffered from poor performance in training camp and/or the preseason. Like the bubble players, they may draw interest on the open market if released or waived:
Quarterbacks (1): Thad Lewis
Defensive tackles (1): Alan Branch