The New England Patriots cut 20 players Saturday, trimming their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here’s a closer look at the final cuts:
Most significant move: Trimming to just four receivers with the releases of Aaron Dobson and Keshawn Martin. While not a surprise (this was forecast in a final roster projection), it’s still notable because it closes the book on Dobson’s disappointing run with the team after he was a second-round selection in the 2013 draft. It also sparks the question if there is another roster move to come at the position, as rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell (elbow) and Danny Amendola (active/PUP during preseason) have health situations of note.
Most significant non-move: Amendola, who hasn’t fully practiced with the team, was not placed on the reserve/PUP list. That means he is eligible to play within the first six weeks of the regular season, and provides context to how the team views his recovery from offseason knee and ankle surgeries. If the team didn’t think Amendola could return within the first six weeks, he’d be on the reserve/PUP list.
More moves likely to come: As is often the case, this initial 53-man roster is unlikely to be the 53-man roster that the Patriots open the season with Sept. 11 at Arizona. The deadline to make waiver claims is noon ET Sunday, with running back and receiver two positions that could draw the team’s interest. Bears seventh-round pick Daniel Braverman, who was waived, is one player who might be of interest if the Patriots like what they saw in joint practices with the Bears.
Underdogs make the cut: There are several feel-good stories of long shots who made the initial 53-man roster, starting with undrafted free agents D.J. Foster (RB, Arizona State) and Jonathan Jones (CB, Auburn). Also, second-year defensive tackle Anthony Johnson steps into Dominique Easley’s role as an interior sub rusher after surging midway through training camp. On the opposite end of the spectrum, sixth-round pick Kamu Grugier-Hill (LB, Eastern Illinois) and 2015 third-round pick Geneo Grissom (DE, Oklahoma) qualify as two moves that fall closer to the “surprise” category.
Patriots’ moves: Released G Chris Barker, WR DeAndre Carter, WR Aaron Dobson, RB Tyler Gaffney, DE Geneo Grissom, LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, G Jon Halapio, DT Woodrow Hamilton, WR Chris Harper, RB Joey Iosefa, DE Rufus Johnson, DT Markus Kuhn, CB Cre’Von LeBlanc, WR Devin Lucien, WR Keshawn Martin, CB Darryl Roberts, LB Kevin Snyder, S Vinnie Sunseri, DT Joe Vellano, TE Bryce Williams