NFL teams must be down to their maximum allotment of 53 players by 4 p.m. Saturday. The Rams started today with 75 players, and got most of the way toward the deadline by cutting 17.
None of the players cut today was Michael Sam. Which means that, if he is not among the five more players St. Louis must drop, then he will have made the team, becoming the first openly gay man on an NFL team’s regular-season roster.
Of course, regardless of sexual orientation, just making an NFL roster as a lowly seventh-round pick is a significant accomplishment. Especially when the team you’re trying to make is stacked at your position, as the Rams are at defensive line, where Sam plays.
However, even if Sam winds up being among the five players yet to be cut by St. Louis, his NFL dream will hardly be over, as he has shown enough ability in preseason action to pique the interest of other teams. In Thursday’s game against the Dolphins, Sam led the Rams with six tackles, including five unassisted.
I do not expect Michael Sam to end up on the Rams’ 53-man roster. But he could absolutely end up on some team’s 53.
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) August 29, 2014
For example, the Cowboys have been widely cited as a team that could be interested in Sam, should he become available. Dallas is woefully thin at nearly every defensive position, plays the same 4-3 scheme as St. Louis (which best fits Sam’s skill set) and, heaven knows, owner Jerry Jones doesn’t mind the spotlight shining on his squad.
Still, one has to assume that Sam would prefer to have the honor of making the team that stuck its neck out to draft him, especially as he played college ball at nearby Missouri. By the same token, it also seems likely that the Rams would prefer to keep Sam, as long it isn’t glaringly obvious that another roster candidate is more deserving. Sam just has a few nervous hours left to discover his fate.