The first big roster deadline of the NFL season is Tuesday, with teams needing to be down to 75 players from their current roster limit of 90.
The Philadelphia Eagles got a jump start on that process Saturday, announcing they have released 14 players, bringing their roster to 76.
Notable among the cuts was defensive end Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, and linebacker Jake Knott, who played in 12 games last season.
Knott’s case for a roster spot was not helped at all by the fact that he is primarily a special teams player and has to serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Coach Chip Kelly said there was a reason for making the cuts early:
Chip Kelly: We’re in the process of cutting roster down, official list soon … Wasn’t beneficial to have guys practice who won’t play.
— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) August 23, 2014
The other cuts included tight end Blake Annen, offensive lineman Michael Bamiro, tackle Karim Barton, wide receiver Kadron Boone, wide receiver B.J. Cunningham, offensive lineman Donald Hawkins, tight end Emil Igwenagu, defensive end Joe Kruger, safety Daytawion Lowe, defensive end Frances Mays, defensive back Davon Morgan and kicker Carey Spear.
Villanueva was a long shot to make the team, four years removed from playing collegiately at Army, where he was a wide receiver in 2009—at 6-foot-9—and had 34 receptions for 522 yards and five touchdowns. He moved to receiver after starting 12 games at left tackle in 2008.
He spent four years on active duty in the U.S. Army, including three tours in Afghanistan.