FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots cut 31 players over the last two days, trimming their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here’s a closer look at the final cuts:
Most significant move: There weren’t any major surprises, so it’s a take-your-pick of either 2016 second-round pick Cyrus Jones or veteran running back Mike Gillislee. Neither was part of ESPN’s final 53-man roster projection, so they don’t register as surprises as much as significant investments by the team not producing the desired results. Jones struggled as a returner as a rookie, then tore his ACL in the 2017 preseason, and a fresh start was probably best for both sides. Meanwhile, the Patriots gave Gillislee a two-year, $6.4 million deal as a restricted free agent last year -- and also surrendered a fifth-round pick to the Bills in the process (Buffalo turned it into starting weakside linebacker Matt Milano).
Receivers must be coming: The Patriots currently have just three receivers on their initial roster -- Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson. That’s especially light, and one would think the team is exploring the waiver wire and free-agent market for possible additions. Head coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio have tried quite a few players at the position this year -- Kenny Britt, Malcolm Mitchell, Jordan Matthews, Eric Decker, etc. -- and none of them stuck.
Young cornerbacks make the cut: Seventh-round pick Keion Crossen (Western Carolina) and undrafted J.C. Jackson (Maryland) played their way on to the roster, with Crossen first showing his uncommon physical traits in the spring with a leaping interception in the end zone to put himself on the radar and Jackson’s ball skills showing up consistently from the spring through training camp. The team has its top four spots on the cornerback depth chart solidified with Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones and second-round pick Duke Dawson, and now the team has two young developmental prospects with whom to work, similar to Malcolm Butler in 2014.
Released: DT John Atkins; P Corey Bojorquez; RB Brandon Bolden; C/G Luke Bowanko; OT/G Cole Croston; QB Danny Etling; RB Kenneth Farrow; C/G James Ferentz; LB Marquis Flowers; RB Mike Gillislee; DE Trent Harris; DL Frank Herron; CB Cyrus Jones; G Jason King; LB Harvey Langi; DE Eric Lee; CB Ryan Lewis; WR Devin Lucien; WR K.J. Maye; WR Riley McCarron; S A.J. Moore; RB Khalfani Muhammad; FB Henry Poggi; C/G Brian Schwenke; OT Matt Tobin; S Damarius Travis; WR Paul Turner; TE Will Tye; DT Vincent Valentine; RB Ralph Webb; CB Jomal Wiltz
Injured reserve: WR Braxton Berrios, LB Christian Sam, OL Ulrick John