Here is a position-by-position look at who stays, who goes when the San Diego Chargers make their final cuts.
The Chargers still have a few players nursing injuries who will not be available when the team begins the regular season Sept. 13 against the Detroit Lions. Guard Johnnie Troutman isn’t expected back from a broken right forearm until Week 3. And outside linebacker Tourek Williams might be out until midway through the year with a broken foot.
Veteran tight end Antonio Gates likely will begin the regular season on the NFL’s suspended list while serving his four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. That means Gates will not count as part of San Diego’s 53-man roster to start the regular season.
The Chargers kept only two quarterbacks last season, and the expectation is that will happen again. Brad Sorensen has shown improvement and is a practice-squad candidate.
Chargers general manager Tom Telesco indicated the team would like to keep Donald Brown around as the team’s fourth running back, but he played only four snaps on offense in the team’s dress rehearsal against the Seattle Seahawks last week. The Chargers could save $3 million in cash by releasing Brown. Smith played well in the preseason and would give San Diego an inexpensive option to Brown for depth at running back. Brown could also command trade interest for teams looking for experienced depth at running back like the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns.
Miller makes it here to add depth to the tight end group with Gates missing the first four games. The Chargers want to run more two tight-end sets this year.
Undrafted rookie free agent Tyreek Burwell has potential and should wind up on the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Kenny Wiggins had a good training camp and could make the roster for added depth, particularly with Troutman potentially missing the first two weeks.
The Chargers like the versatility of these two players, who can both play guard. Michael Huey also had a strong camp and is a practice-squad candidate.
Damion Square made some plays during training camp and warrants a look as a guy who could add depth on the active roster.
This group has more depth and guys who can push the pocket from the interior line than in years past.
Colton Underwood flashed during exhibition play and is a practice-squad candidate. The Chargers need an extra body with Williams injured.
Not sure how you keep Dzubnar off the active roster with the way he’s played. The competition at this position helped improve the play of Butler and Te'o.
The Chargers have pretty good depth in the secondary and Adrian Phillips is another guy who can play. Perhaps Phillips lands on the practice squad.
Josh Lambo did enough to get a job audition for another team or return if Novak suffers an injury.