And just like that, the New England Patriots are at the league mandated roster maximum of 53 players. Just a few minutes ago, the team officially announced the list of players who have been released or placed on reserve lists. Ready? Here we go:
The Patriots released veteran players, DL Landon Cohen, LB Niko Koutouvides, S Brandon Meriweather, DE Eric Moore, RB Sammy Morris, WR Brandon Tate and WR Tiquan Underwood; first-year players, OL Thomas Austin, RB Eric Kettani and DB Ross Ventrone and rookies, LB Markell Carter, DL Aaron Lavarias, DE Alex Silvestro, TE Lee Smith and TE Will Yeatman.
In addition, DL Ron Brace, DL Brandon Deaderick RB Kevin Faulk were placed on the reserve physically unable to perform list and 2011 fifth-round draft pick Marcus Cannon was placed on the reserve non-football injury list.
OL Rich Ohrnberger was placed on injured reserve.
Throughout the day today, we have discussed the majority of these releases, so there aren't any major surprises remaining. Still, here are a few of my thoughts on the additional moves:
- After the Patriots released Lee Smith earlier in the day, most thought it was a forgone conclusion that Will Yeatman would make the final roster. Apparently, we were wrong. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots bring Yeatman and/or Smith back into the fold on the practice squad. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Patriots bring back Alge Crumpler at a lower price.
- With the Patriots releasing Thomas Austin and placing Rich Ohrnberger on injured reserve, the team is clearly going to have some depth issues along the interior line. These moves could be seen as a vote of confidence in the health of Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell, so we'll see. The team also brought in former Cowboys center Andre Gurode to a visit to Gillette Stadium today, so he could be an option at right guard.
- The Patriots had one rookie free agent survive and make the roster: Jeff Tarpinian. Tarpinian had a strong camp and preseason, but most felt it would come down to either him or Tracy White for that final roster spot. The Patriots elected to keep both.
- Is six cornerbacks too much? Apparently the Patriots don't think so. The team has elected to go with a higher number of defensive backs, meaning that both Darius Butler and Antwaun Molden are sticking around for the mean-time.
- The Patriots kept a lot of defensive tackles. Albert Haynesworth, Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright, Shaun Ellis, Gerard Warren, Kyle Love, and Myron Pryor all made the team's initial 53.
- Don't expect the moves to stop here. Bill Belichick always loves to wheel-and-deal on "Waiver Wire Sunday," my self-proclaimed name for one of the busiest NFL days of the year. Expect the team to claim some players, release some more, maybe sign a player, as well as make a trade or two. I can guarantee you this: The Patriots 53 man roster, as it stands now, will have several more changes between now and next Monday night against the Dolphins.