Kenbrell Thompkins released from Patriots' practice squad

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots made four player transactions on Wednesday, releasing veteran linebacker Dekoda Watson from the 53-man roster and receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, offensive lineman Chris Barker and defensive tackle Joe Vellano from the practice squad.

Watson, a six-year veteran, was a core special teams player in the team's victories over the Bills and Jaguars. His spot on the roster might have been affected by the Patriots' acquisition of linebacker Jon Bostic from the Bears on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the release of Thompkins from the practice squad comes as a surprise of sorts, in part because Bill Belichick previously said how the team felt he represented good depth. Perhaps the team's acquisition of Keshawn Martin in a mid-September trade with Houston, coupled with rookie Chris Harper being signed to the practice squad, led to Thompkins feeling the pinch.

Like Thompkins, Barker and Vellano have been with the team in recent seasons and all would be candidates to return to the team in the future should things change from the Patriots' roster-needs perspective.