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Patriots waive DT Woodrow Hamilton to make space for QB Jacoby Brissett

The Patriots are moving a depth defensive tackle to get their rookie quarterback more experience.

The New England Patriots have informed DT Woodrow Hamilton of his release, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, in order to open a roster spot for rookie QB Jacoby Brissett. Hamilton is a priority to bring back to the practice squad.

The Patriots want Brissett on the active roster so he can receive as many snaps as possible in practice prior to assuming the role as top back-up in 2017. Brissett played 2.5 games at the start of the season prior to joining the injured reserve with a throwing hand injury.

Hamilton was one of the more underrated run defenders on the Patriots defensive line this year. The Patriots averaged 1.98 rushing yards allowed below expectation with Hamilton on the field, one of the top marks in the NFL. Hamilton received most of his playing time when fellow rookie DT Vincent Valentine was out with a back injury.

The Patriots tipped their hand on Tuesday when NESN’s Doug Kyed found out the team had worked out DT Jeoffrey Pagan. Pagan is a defensive tackle with experience at the University of Alabama and with the Houston Texans, so he’s a clear fit in New England.

If Hamilton does not clear waivers, then look for Pagan to be a late addition to the practice squad. Perhaps Hamilton can express a similar sentiment to RB D.J. Foster, who told teams that he would prefer to stay with the Patriots and allowed him to pass through waivers unclaimed. The Patriots also have DT Darius Kilgo on the practice squad.