It's one of the darkest days in the NFL, with more than 1,000 players being cut or waived. Here are some of the more notable names being let go around the league:
Cincinnati Bengals DE Michael Johnson: The 10-year vet had a salary-cap hit of $6.1 million, and cutting him allows the Bengals to save about $4 million. It's still a mild surprise, however, as Johnson was third on the team in sacks over the past two seasons with 13.5. However, the two men ahead of him — Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap — both received lucrative contract extensions Tuesday, likely necessitating Johnson's release.
Dallas Cowboys K Dan Bailey: A true stunner. Bailey was the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history, but the Cowboys have opted to release him and keep Brett Maher, who has never kicked in a regular-season game. Maher was 4-of-5 field-goal attempts this preseason, including a 57-yarder on Thursday against the Houston Texans. Bailey, who had been the Cowboys' kicker since 2011, is coming off a season in which he missed five FG tries and two extra-point attempts while kicking with an injured groin. Expect him to get work shortly, however, with a lot of teams (Chargers, maybe?) in flux with their kicking situations.
New England Patriots RB Mike Gillislee: Even though he started in Week 1 a year ago and scored three touchdowns in that game, Gillislee never really had good footing in Foxboro and was pushed out of a crowded position that includes first-round RB Sony Michel, along with Rex Burkhead and James White.
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Landry Jones: With two QBs drafted the past two seasons, someone had to go in Steeltown. But we're a bit surprised it was Jones and not, say, Joshua Dobbs. The Steelers will keep Dobbs and 2018 third-rounder Mason Rudolph behind Ben Roethliberger, which means an untested QB will be the No. 2. Jones had started five games the past four years in place of an injured Roethlisberger, leading the Steelers to victories in three of them.
For his six-year career in Pittsburgh, Jones completed 108-of-169 passes (63.9 percent) for 1,310 yards with eight TDs and seven interceptions. This is another veteran player who shouldn't have trouble finding work in a QB-needy league.
Detroit Lions CB DeShawn Shead: There was a thought that Shead might be able to earn a starting role when he was handed a $1 million signing bonus from the Lions in March, but those thoughts were put to bed when he was cut Saturday. The 29-year-old had been slowed by a quad injury in the preseason, forcing him to miss two games. It's looking like Nevin Lawson might reclaim the outside starting CB spot opposite Darius Slay.
Minnesota Vikings CB Terence Newman: Before the team could cut him, the 41-year-old Newman opted to retire and immediately join the Vikings' coaching staff. Newman played for head coach Mike Zimmer for three different teams (Cowboys, Bengals and Vikings) and totaled 42 interceptions in his 15 NFL seasons.
Vikings DE Brian Robison: The 11-year vet had been the team's longest-tenured player on the roster before he was cut, saving $1.1 million in cap space. Robison, who was drafted in 2007, returned to the team this spring after considering retirement and restructured his deal in such a way that he was expected to stick around. It's still possible that he could return after Week 1. The 35-year-old recorded 60 sacks for the Vikings.
Vikings WR Kendall Wright: Expected to be the team's No. 3 receiver, Wright struggled to make an impact in the preseason. Laquon Treadwell’s strong preseason apparently earned him that spot instead and will allow Adam Thielen to play in the slot more.
Chiefs CB David Amerson: The Chiefs continue to remake their secondary on the fly for what could be a young, inexperienced group around safety Eric Berry. Amerson was expected to start after he was signed with the trade of Marcus Peters in mind, but he looked poor in the preseason.
Colts DE John Simon: Although he made a late push in the Colts' new defense to earn a role, Simon was deemed a poor fit after arriving a few years ago via free agency. Simon might land with a 3-4 team seeking outside rush help from the veteran.
Houston Texans P Shane Lechler: On Friday, the Texans informed the 42-year-old Lechler that he'd been released, having lost the punting battle to rookie Trevor Daniel. Although Lecher out-punted Daniel in the preseason (42.4-yard average to Daniel's 40.8), the Texans went with the younger, cheaper option.