The Chargers waived 16 youngsters, released three veterans and traded away a utility lineman to get down to the 53-player roster limit by Saturday's 4pm EST deadline.
Most of the moves were anticipated, although there were a few exceptions. Undrafted rookie Tyrell Williams beat out Austin Pettis and Javontee Herndon for the sixth receiver position. Kyle Miller edged out John Phillips for the No. 3 tight end spot, a critical role during the first quarter of the season while Antonio Gates serves his suspension.
Gates does not count against the roster during his suspension, nor does OG Craig Watts, who has two games remaining on a PEP suspension that was handed down last December. One would think the Chargers would keep extra guard help with Watts out and Johnnie Troutman (arm) still on the mend. However, San Diego instead traded guard-tackle Jeremiah Sirles to the Vikings for a 2016 sixth-round pick, leaving the team thin on the interior over the next few weeks.
The Chargers added a surprising source of depth to the offensive line by keeping undrafted rookie OT Tyreek Burwell ahead of guards Michael Huey and Kenny Wiggins. Burrell and Williams are two of four undrafted rookies on the roster, joining ILB Nick Dzubnar and K Josh Lambo.
The team's decision to keep Lambo ahead of veteran Nick Novak may have been Saturday's biggest surprise, as Novak is an experienced, clutch kicker. However, Novak is also a liability on kickoffs, which was the main reason the Chargers opted for the strong-legged Lambo. The former MLS player made all four of his field goal attempts during the preseason, including the game-winner against the Cardinals.
Among some of the other difficult decisions:
--The Chargers opted to carry just two quarterbacks, with Brad Sorensen getting the axe in the final round of cuts for the second season in a row.
--Richard Crawford, who had a pick-six and a sack in the preseason finale, failed to convince the Chargers to carry six cornerbacks.
--DT Damion Square lost out in a numbers game on the defensive line. The team opted to keep seven defensive linemen, including newcomers Mitch Unrein and Darius Philon.
The full list of Saturday's transactions is as follows:
- LB Chi Chi Ariguzo (injured)
- CB Richard Crawford
- CB Greg Ducre
- WR Javontee Herndon
- G Michael Huey
- S Johnny Lowdermilk
- CB Jordan Mabin
- LB Ryan Mueller
- TE Brian Parker
- S Adrian Phillips
- CB Lowell Rose
- RB Dreamius Smith
- QB Brad Sorensen
- DT Damion Square
- LB Colton Underwood (injured)
- G Kenny Wiggins
- K Nick Novak
- WR Austin Pettis
- TE John Phillips
- G Jeremiah Sirles (to Minnesota for sixth-round selection in 2016 draft)
- TE Antonio Gates
- G Craig Watts
What are your thoughts on the final round of cuts? Discuss in our message boards!
Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for Scout.com and has also been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Footballinsiders.com and MySpace Sports. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter @NFLinsider_Mike.