JACKSONVILLE – The process was far from easy. And it's still not over.
The Jaguars on Tuesday afternoon officially trimmed their active roster from 80 to 53 players, a process that Head Coach Urban Meyer experienced for the first time Tuesday – and one he said was as unpleasant as he anticipated.
"It was very difficult today," Meyer said. "It was awful."
The Jaguars waived/released 24 players Tuesday – including 11 players who played for the team last season and four recent draft selections. They also placed safety Josh Jones on injured reserve, retaining a 53-man roster with 29 defensive players, 21 offensive players and three specialists.
The Jaguars because they finished with the NFL's worst record in 2020 enter the 2021 season first in waiver order, meaning they can claim any player waived Tuesday. They will be able to make those claims Wednesday.
"It's still very fluid," Meyer said. "We're still very active. That's going on right now."
Meyer also said he expects many players waived or released Tuesday to return on the team's practice squad. Teams can begin signing players to their practice squad Wednesday. Teams can carry 16 players on the practice squad, including six veterans of unlimited experience.
All players released/waived Tuesday are eligible to be on the Jaguars' practice squad.
"We had to trim by 27, but 16 are going to come back [Wednesday]," Meyer said. "We're still working through that as we speak. That was a little bit easier to deal with than just 'See you later.' We have a good chunk of guys who if they don't get claimed are coming back."
Meyer also on Tuesday addressed Monday's trade of cornerback Sidney Jones IV to the Seattle Seahawks – reportedly for a sixth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. He said the preseason play of second-year cornerback CJ Henderson, rookie Tyson Campbell, second-year veteran Chris Claybrooks, fourth-year veteran Tre Herndon and fifth-year veteran Shaquill Griffin made the trade necessary.
"It was going to be hard to make it," Meyer said of Jones. "We just felt it might be the best opportunity for him."
Meyer expressed concern over keeping just wide receivers – DJ Chark Jr., Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., Jamal Agnew and Tavon Austin. He said the same of keeping three running backs – James Robinson, Carlos Hyde and Dare Ogunbowale. "That's a 24-7 conversation," Meyer said, adding that he expects Chark, Austin and Jones – all of whom missed the preseason finale – to play in the September 12 regular-season opener at Houston.
Meyer said COVID-19 vaccination status was considered when making roster decisions. "Everyone was considered – production and also whether he was vaccinated or not," Meyer said. "Can I say that was a decision-maker? It was certainly in consideration."