The Indianapolis Colts today have cut their roster down to 75 players by releasing 12 players, including guard Donald Thomas. Teams must have their roster down to 75 players by 4:00 p.m. ET by Tuesday, September 1, so the Colts are ahead of that deadline by a full day. The next cut deadline is Saturday, September 5, by 4:00 p.m. ET, when teams must make the final cutdown from 75 players to 53 players.
Here are the players released by the Colts this morning:
Donald Thomas, guard
Harland Gunn, guard
Nicklas Haag, inside linebacker
Zack Hodges, outside linebacker
Tyler Hoover, tackle
Ryan Lankford, wide receiver
Jeris Pendleton, defensive tackle
Ezell Ruffin, wide receiver
Justin Shirk, inside linebacker
Justin Sinz, tight end
Abou Toure, running back
Brandon Vitabile, center
Furthermore, the Colts waived-injured cornerback Donald Celiscar, meaning that if he clears waivers he will revert to the team's injured reserve, and then later in the day waived-inured cornerback Deveron Carr. Likewise, Carr will revert to the team's IR if he clears waivers. They also placed cornerback Tevin Mitchel on injured reserve. Mitchel was claimed by the Colts off of waivers when the Redskins waived-injured him, and they stashed him on the active roster until this point - the first time they could place him on IR without subjecting him to waivers. This was the easiest one of the whole group to predict, as Mitchel hadn't even been assigned a number since being claimed a few weeks ago. At the time the Colts claimed him it was widely assumed he would miss the entire season, but the Colts liked him enough to claim him and then stash him on the active roster for a few weeks until they could place him directly on IR - which is today.
Of course, the most notable move made today by the Colts was that they released Donald Thomas, one of their big free agent signings in 2013. Considering that he has suffered a torn quad in each of the last two years, however, and has played just one complete game for the Colts since being signed in 2013, this isn't a huge surprise. The team activated him from the PUP list on Friday, but it now seems that the team was just waiting for him to get healthy before cutting him so that they could release him without an injury settlement. By cutting Thomas, the Colts save $3.5 million - making it easy to see why they didn't want to take the risk with keeping him around this season.
None of the other moves are too surprising. Zack Hodges was an undrafted free agent who I really wanted to keep an eye on when the Colts signed him, but it has been clear that he wasn't going to make the team - perhaps most notably this past Saturday, when Hodges played just one snap.
Also of note is Jeris Pendleton, who spent the end of the 2013 season with the Colts and then spent the 2014 season on the team's injured reserve. They waived him earlier in the offseason but brought him back right before training camp began. Tyler Hoover is another player who had spent some time with the Colts, as he spent the entire 2014 season on the team's practice squad as they turned him into an offensive tackle.