The Patriots dropped their roster to 75 by 4pm today. Some of the moves made today were placing DT Chris Jones and LB Dane Fletcher on the reserve Physically Unable to Perform list, CB Darryl Roberts on injured reserve, and waived OL Chris Barker and D.J. Lynch. That currently leaves the team at 38 players on offense and 34 on defense. The Patriots will trim their roster from 75 to 53 starting after the final preseason game against the New York Giants on Thursday night. In a good news item of the day, WR Brandon LaFell was not placed on the reserve list. LaFell has been on the PUP list throughout all of training camp, so perhaps the team feels that he is capable of returning before Week 6. I'm not sure about his availability for Week 1-5, that's something that will have to be revisited once the regular season starts.
Dane Fletcher's 2014 campaign ended with a torn ACL that occurred very late in the season, so he's unlikely to return even in Week 7. Chris Jones' injury is undisclosed, so I don't have any clue to when his timetable to return. Those two guys were likely on the outside, looking in at the start of camp with a healthy roster but could serve as an extra layer of depth in the middle of the season. Jones has been with the team since 2013 and Dane Fletcher has been on the team from 2010-2013. With the amount of injuries and dinged up players that plague the Front 7 every year, having that extra layer of depth is not a bad thing to have.
Darryl Roberts' season will be cut short before it even begins. I had high hopes for Roberts making an impact at least on Special Teams in 2015 with a few snaps here and there at CB. At the CB position, hands and wrists are very important when it comes to playing the football so it's better to be safe in this situation. Most of the veterans CBs the Patriots signed in the offseason signed 1-year deals and Roberts' wrist should be healed well before the start of OTAs in the offseason. If he can continue his momentum in offseason camps in 2016, he might land a starting spot across from Malcolm Butler.
Chris Barker suffered a high ankle sprain in the 2nd preseason game, but was not waived with an injury designation. That could mean that the Patriots will either put him on the practice squad once his ankle is healed up or it's just an outright release. The one thing Barker does bring is the ability to play multiple positions on the OL, albeit at a sub-replacement level. D.J. Lynch is another practice squad candidate, as the Patriots had already signed him twice and released him once before this move. It's a similar case as Dane Fletcher being on the PUP list, it's an extra layer of depth for the team at a critical position.