Training camp is here! The NFL's most quiet period has come to an end as the New England Patriots have started this year's camp last week. The 90 players currently under contract are now in the process of fighting for spots on either the team's 53-man roster or its 10-man practice squad.
As we have done throughout the offseason, we will continue to take a look at the men fighting for those few select spots on the 2017 Patriots – and to find out who will and might be asked to help the team defend its Super Bowl title.
Today, we will continue the series with one the newest Patriots wide receiver.
Name: K.J. Maye
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 16
Opening day age: 23
Size: 5'8, 190 lbs.
2016 review: After a four-year career at the University of Minnesota, wide receiver K.J. Maye went unselected during the 2016 NFL draft. Shortly afterwards, however, the New York Giants brought him aboard as a free agent. Maye was a part of New York's offseason workouts and training camp and appeared in the first three of the team's preseason games.
However, he failed to crack the team's talented wide receiver rotation and played only 25 snaps on offense. Maye finished preseason with one catch for 17 yards. His special teams performance was not much better as the former Golden Gopher saw a mere four snaps in the kicking game and a returned one punt for 15 yards. Unsurprisingly, the Giants elected to release Maye during the first waive of roster cutdowns.
After leaving New York, Maye remained unsigned until late December when the Tennessee Titans – led by general manager and former Patriots director of college scouting Jon Robinson – added him to their practice squad. He finished the year on the Titans' scout team and was signed to a futures contract after the season.
2017 preview: Shortly after the draft, during which the Titans selected two wide receivers in the first three rounds, Tennessee elected to waive K.J. Maye. He remained on the open market until the Patriots brought him on board on Sunday – filling the open roster spot created by the retirement of veteran defensive edge Rob Ninkovich.
But while Ninkovich was projected to be a roster lock before his sudden retirement, Maye is not. Quite the opposite, actually, as it would be a surprise to see the 23-year old earn a spot on New England's 53-man roster considering the depth and talent ahead of him on the position depth chart. Consequently, Maye's best chance of sticking around would be via the practice squad.
However, even that looks like a long shot. After all, youngsters Devin Lucien and Austin Carr have both looked very good during the first four training camp practices and are the clear-cut favorites to take at least one of the practice squad spots. Maye, therefore, appears to remain on the outside looking in.