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Giants roster cuts: Andre Williams biggest surprise, other takeaways

Let’s look at what the moves made by the Giants mean

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at New York Giants
Andre Williams
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo promised surprises earlier this week when asked about potential roster moves to reach the 53-man regular season limit. Right at Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline the Giants announced their most surprising move, waiving running back Andre Williams, a fourth-round pick in 2014.

“Andre is a guy that played some good football for us,” McAdoo said in a statement from the team. “We’re going to miss him. It was another one of those really tough (roster) decisions to make. We feel that with Rashad, Shane, Orleans, Paul Perkins and Bobby Rainey, we have some versatility there to play all three downs, and on special teams as well.”

Williams averaged just 2.9 yards per carry last season (88 carries, 257 yards). He carried 217 times for 721 yards (3.3 yards per carry) as a rookie.

The Giants are keeping five running backs, perhaps with eyes on potential special teams contributions from Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey. This move likely makes Darkwa the backup for starter Rashad Jennings, with Shane Vereen the third-down back.

Full list of cuts

Terminated contracts: OL Adam Gettis, DT Jermelle Cudjo

Waived: RB Andre Williams; QB Logan Thomas; wide receivers Geremy Davis, Darius Powe and Anthony Dable; offensive linemen Dillon Farrell and Ryan Seymour; defensive tackle Louis Nix;, defensive end Stansley Maponga; linebackers Brad Bars and Ishaq Williams; cornerbacks Leon McFadden, Michael Hunter and Donte Deayon; and safeties Justin Currie and Andrew Adams.

Waived/injured: OL Emmett Cleary (finger), OT Jake Rodgers (ankle)

IR: H-Back Will Johnson (burner)

Note: Kicker Josh Brown will be placed on the NFL’s reserve/suspended list as of 4 p.m. today. He will be eligible to return to the team on Sept. 12, a day after the Giants open their season in Dallas.

More Takeaways

Wide receiver

The Giants parted with 2015 sixth-round pick Geremy Davis, keeping preseason sensation Tavarres King and undrafted free agent rookie Roger Lewis. This was the right thing to do. In truth, the writing was on the wall for Davis at the end of last season when he was inactive for the final six games of the season in favor of Myles White and Ben Edwards.

“Roger and T.K. are two guys that really took a big jump,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “They hit the ground running in the offseason, made tremendous strides and got better and improved. They pushed each other along with the rest of that group. There was great competition in that group.

“Geremy was a guy we drafted here that we think very highly of. Sometimes, you have to make those tough decisions.”

Offensive line

The Giants only have eight on their current roster, with Will Beatty, Bobby Hart and former CFL’er Brett Jones as the backups. Jones spent all of last season on IR with a knee injury.

“Brett has made some big jumps, some big gains,” McAdoo said. “It’s a shame what happened to him last season. He’s been able to rebound. He’s a great student of the game. He’s a guy that has improved tremendously and will add some versatility inside for us.”

It is entirely possible the Giants are not done here. Chris has already mentioned that former Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton is apparently being released by the Green Bay Packers. Sitton has played both guard spots, and McAdoo is familiar with him from his time as an assistant in Green Bay.


The Giants chose 2015 fifth-round pick Mykkele Thompson as the fourth safety, rather than Andrew Adams or Justin Currie. At least one of those two, most likely Adams, could end up on the practice squad.

“Mykkele is a guy who showed up and made some plays for us on special teams,” McAdoo said.

As much as Adams flashed during the preseason, it’s important not to forget that most of these end of the roster guys will make their primary contributions on special teams.


The Giants kept eight (yes, eight) linebackers. Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas, Jasper Brinkley, Kelvin Sheppard, B.J. Goodson, Keenan Robinson, J.T. Thomas III and Mark Herzlich are all on the roster. At least, as on now. It seems untenable to carry that many all season. Don’t be surprised if, when the Giants make a waiver claim or add a player via free agency, they subtract a linebacker from the mix.

Tight end

Placing Will Johnson (burner) on IR is something you can be certain the Giants did not want to do. Because he was placed on IR before 4 p.m. on Sunday, Johnson is not eligible to return this season. That’s an unfortunate quirk in the rule that leaves the Giants without an experienced blocking tight end.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this,” McAdoo said. “He came in and played some good ball for us. He’s a guy that we think highly of.”

The move means the Giants, who once had six tight ends, have now lost all three of the guys who were most likely to fill the blocking role. They waived/injured both Matt LaCosse and Ryan Malleck in the first round of cuts. The Giants also waived/injured fullback Nikita Whitlock in the first round of cuts.

With only rookie sixth-round pick Jerell Adams as a true blocking option at the position, don’t be shocked if the Giants add a tight end or fullback in the coming days.

Practice squad notes

If you didn’t already read our practice squad primer, take the time to do so. It will answer some of your questions about who is eligible and who is not. The Giants Saturday cut lots of good practice squad candidates — Powe, Dable, Adams, Currie, Hunter and Deayon among them. The waiver period for players cut Saturday ends at noon ET Sunday. Teams can begin forming practice squads at 1 p.m.

53-man roster

Quarterbacks (2) — Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib

Running backs (5) — Rashad Jennings, Orleans Darkwa, Shane Vereen, Paul Perkins, Bobby Rainey

Wide receivers (6) — Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Dwayne Harris, Tavarres King, Roger Lewis

Tight ends (3) — Will Tye, Larry Donnell, Jerell Adams

Offensive line (8) — Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, John Jerry, Marshall Newhouse, Will Beatty, Bobby Hart, Brett Jones

Defensive line (9) — Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrsion, Johnathan Hankins, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Kerry Wynn, Romeo Okwara, Jay Bromley, Montori Hughes

Linebackers (8) — Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas, Jasper Brinkley, Kelvin Sheppard, B.J. Goodson, J.T. Thomas III, Keenan Robinson, Mark Herzlich

Cornerbacks (5) — Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Trevin Wade, Leon Hall

Safeties (4) — Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Nat Berhe, Mykkele Thompson

Special teams (3)

Placekicker — Randy Bullock

Punter — Brad Wing

Long-snapper — Zak DeOssie