By next Friday night, about 40% of players currently on NFL rosters will be cut.
Gone. Seeya. But thanks for comin' out.
That's more than 1,100 players.
For a few months now, NFL clubs have been allowed to carry 90 players. By Monday at 4 p.m. EDT they must whittle down to 75. And by next Friday at 9 p.m. EDT, they have to whack another 22 to contract to the regular-season roster limit of 53. (A day later they can sign eight cut players to a season-long practice squad.)
Some teams have begun to hack already, before next week's butchery.
The truth: On each team there'll be few, if any, surprises, at least among coaching staffs and front-office personnel.
According to ESPN's NFL business analyst Andrew Brandt, most teams knew their depth chart and final roster "well before" camps opened in late July.
"Sadly, many players have no chance of making the team no matter how well they perform," Brandt wrote last month.
Even, in most cases, the undrafted kid out of Backwater A&M who played the ass off a celebrated draftee or veteran.
"Front offices want their player acquisitions to succeed; these players are given every benefit of the doubt," Brandt asserted. "The sad part -- and this is the former agent in me coming out -- is that most released players have done everything the team asked them to do."
But somebody had to play on defence against the third-team offence, and vice versa.
And next Wednesday and Thursday -- in the most meaningless of all exhibition pro sports games, Week 4 of NFL pre-season -- somebody has to play before the fans who bought those full-price tickets, with most starters and many second-stringers sitting out.
Before the cuts from those games have a chance to scab over, hundreds will be out of a job.
"So many players, so few jobs. It's a cold business," Brandt observed.
For some of the whacked, it doesn't necessarily mean their pro football dream has died. That's why CFL scouts have been scouring NFL training camps for the past month, and will be triple-checking next Friday afternoon that their cellphone batteries are fully charged.
FROM SUSPENDED TO CUT
On Friday night, the Packers let go defensive end Anthony Hargrove, whom NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended for the first eight games of the season as one of four 2010-11 Saints found guilty in the bounty scandal. And we thought it was impossible for the NFLPA to become any angrier at Goodell.
After their third pre-season game Thursday, the Cardinals' quarterback situation grew yet murkier. "It sure seems that way," coach Ken Whisenhunt told the team's website. Starter Kevin Kolb hung in the pocket better and hit some passes, but still tossed two bad picks. Backup John Skelton tossed one. The Cards offensive line is a disaster, so it might not matter who the team can bring in at QB, if that's in the, uh, cards.
The Ravens' Joe Flacco looked fantastic against the Jaguars on Thursday. He was 27-of-36 for 266 yards and two TDs, and in the first half was 20-of-27 for 194 yards. Maybe he has indeed turned the corner.
Dynamic Titans KR/WR Marc Mariani broke both main bones in his lower left leg (fibia and tibia) in a grotesque injury Thursday against the Cards. He had surgery immediately and is done for the year.
DE FACTO TEBOW UPDATE
Rex Ryan announced Friday that none of the first-teamers will play a down Thursday in the Jets' preseason finale at Philadelphia. Neither will QB Tim Tebow. Ryan also said the Jets are unlikely to put Tebow in a wildcat offence Sunday night against visiting Carolina.
All jibes with our theory, based purely on supposition, that the Jets' alternate package featuring Tebow will not be the wildcat, but rather some incarnation of the zone-read spread, and they don't want anyone to know.
EXTRA POINTS: Jets safety LaRon Landry was not fined for what looked like a hard, head-first hit on Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz last Saturday ... Friday, on his 60th birthday, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said "talk is cheap," before immediately promising fans that "you're gonna be very proud of this team" in 2012 ... New starting Jets right tackle Austin Howard weighed nearly 360 pounds in the spring, but is down to a svelte 330 now, per ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini ... Hall of Fame Eagles running back Steve "Wham Bam" Van Buren, who starred in the '40s, died Thursday night at age 91.