The roster cuts and maneuvering for NFL teams to get down to a 53-man roster by Saturday's 4 p.m. ET deadline has already begun. Below is a list of names to keep an eye on over the weekend, whether they are potential candidates for release, trade, the reserve/physically unable to perform list or injured reserve:
Brock Osweiler, Browns quarterback: NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Osweiler was "available for a trade," which usually translates to "ready to be released" at this time of year. It's hard to imagine another team giving up a draft pick for Osweiler, even if the Browns took on nearly all of his $16 million guaranteed salary. If Osweiler were released, Cody Kessler and possibly Kevin Hogan would be on the depth chart behind rookie starter DeShone Kizer. UPDATE: The Brownsreleased Osweiler on Friday.
T.J. Ward, Broncos safety: Ward was the most surprising name to pop up as a trade candidate this week because he still played at a high level last season. But Ward has suffered an assortment of minor injuries, and Broncos general manager John Elway likes the young depth behind him. If a trade doesn't happen, a release is very possible. UPDATE: The Broncosreleased Ward on Saturday.
Geno Smith, Giants quarterback: Was Geno's performance on Thursday night enough to save him? He completed 10 of 11 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots, although Josh Johnson also played well. Only one of the two veteran quarterbacks is likely to make the team and back up Eli Manning.
McPhee is a different case. It would be surprising to see such a talented player released, although not unfathomable. I'm more interested to see if the Bears put him on the reserve/PUP list, taking him out of action for the first six weeks of the season.
Chris Johnson, Cardinals running back: Turning 32 years old in September, Johnson started to show his age in training camp. He could be edged out by Cardinals running backs with more special teams ability like Elijhaa Penny and Andre Ellington. UPDATE: Johnson was released by the Cardinals on Friday, per Rapoport.
Jermaine Kearse and Jeremy Lane, Seahawks wide receiver, cornerback: Rapoport reported that the Seahawks were gauging trade value for both players. That's a surprise because Kearse was expected to start at wide receiver and Lane lined up as a starting cornerback for much of training camp. The team clearly believes they have enough depth at both positions and it would be surprising now if either was on the roster next week. UPDATE: The Seahawkstraded Kearse to the Jets on Friday.