In the most Bill Belichick way possible, the Patriots officially got their roster down from 80 to 53 players – cutting or designating 27 players for assignment on Tuesday.
I say this because rosters were due at 4pm EST, but naturally we didn’t hear a peep about the final 10 moves they needed to make until about 7:15pm. Whether this was Bill bending the rules or simply keeping his secrets under wraps – we’ll never know. And of course, it doesn’t matter – we ended up getting the roster. Here’s a look:
QB(3): Mac Jones, Brian Hoyer, Bailey Zappe
RB(4): Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, Ty Montgomery, Pierre Strong Jr.
WR(5): DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, Tyquan Thornton
TE(2): Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith
OL(8): Trent Brown, Cole Strange, David Andrews, Mike Onwenu, Isaiah Wynn, Chasen Hines, Yodny Cajuste, Justin Herron
DL(6): Deatrich Wise, Davon Godchaux, Lawrence Guy, Christian Barmore, Carl Davis, Sam Roberts
LB(8): Matt Judon, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Josh Uche, Raekwon McMillan, Mack Wilson, Jahlani Tavai, Anfernee Jennings DaMarcus Mitchell
CB(6): Jalen Mills, Jon Jones, Marcus Jones, Jack Jones, Shaun Wade, Myles Bryant
S(5): Devin McCourty, Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips, Jabrill Peppers, Josh Bledsoe
ST(6): Jake Bailey, Nick Folk, Joe Cardona, Matthew Slater, Cody Davis, Brendan Schooler
There were plenty of shocking moves across the league, including some in New England. Here are my five biggest Patriots surprises from Tuesday:
5. Jahlani Tavai is somehow, someway, a New England Patriot
The Patriots kept eight linebackers on their roster, including Jahlani Tavai from Hawaii.
I’m not going to sugar coat it – Tavai did not have a good preseason at all. He’s slow, he got hurt, and he doesn’t fit their scheme or identity of trying to get faster on defense.
Nevertheless, he made the team. Tavai was a Matt Patricia draft pick in 2020 by the Lions, so naturally he’ll be a part of the Patriots. Hopefully they realize sooner rather than later that he’s really not an NFL caliber player…
4. The youth outlasted the old in the cornerback room
The Pats surprised us pretty early on Tuesday by cutting journeyman cornerback Terrance Mitchell. Mitchell made an impression early on in camp with his “first-on-the-field” mentality, but his play fell off late while the young guys showed their stuff – making him ultimately expendable.
I actually had Mitchell off the roster in my final projection – going with youth, but I was hesitant that they’d actually do it. They did though, going with Ohio State Buckeye Shaun Wade instead. Their room now consists of Jalen Mills, Jon Jones, Marcus Jones, Jack Jones, Shaun Wade, Myles Bryant.
They made the right choice.
3. Chasen Hines wins swing guard job
Sixth round pick Chasen Hines surprisingly squeaked by the cuts, winning the competition at swing-interior lineman for the Patriots.
The former LSU Tiger won the job over veteran James Ferentz and camp standout Kody Russey, something I certainly didn’t see coming. I actually had both Ferentz and Russey on the roster, with Hines off.
Kudos to Hines, he clearly deserves it.
2. Patriots cut a veteran specialist
Another surprise move came in on Tuesday, as the Pats cut specialist Justin Bethel, who landed in New England in 2019 after spending time with the Cardinals, Falcons, and Ravens.
The thought was that Bethel could potentially land on the practice squad after the remaining cuts were made, but an Instagram post by him on Tuesday night suggested otherwise. Bethel wrote: “it’s been a fun three years Pats Nation! Thanks for letting the old guy run up and down the field a little!”. Many believe he could retire.
1. Lil’Jordan Humphrey did everything he could to make the roster – but didn’t
My number one shock of Tuesday was the Patriots cutting Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Here’s what I wrote about the former Texas Longhorn during my Roster Projection 3.0:
Lil’Jordan Humphrey did exactly what he had to do to make this roster, hauling in 13 catches over three games and playing a key role on special teams. They’ll probably add Tre Nixon after cuts if he clears waivers, which I think he will.
With Tyquan Thornton likely heading to short-term IR, I don’t understand this move. Maybe they think they can get him if he clears waivers, but I certainly don’t think that’s happening. Humphrey proved, and earned, an NFL roster spot this summer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t given to him.
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