The New England Patriots must trim their roster from 90 players to 53 by 4:00 PM ET on Saturday, September 2nd. Head coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio waited to make their moves with just hours to spare in 2016 and we might expect a similar timeline this year.
The delay won’t be because the Patriots are trying to get a slight advantage over an opponent; instead they’re waiting for health updates on players like EDGE Shea McClellin, EDGE Harvey Langi, and S Nate Ebner- three core special teams players- before making final cuts. Those injuries could determine which players earn the last one or two roster spots after a summer of giving their all.
“It’s always hard to have to release players,” Belichick said after Thursday’s game against the New York Giants. “Personally, that’s always tough. Guys gave you everything they got and, I mean, we have 90 players and we have to get down to 53, so it will be hard to tell whoever it is – I don’t even know who it’s going to be – but whoever it is, it will be hard to tell some of those players that we won’t be able to keep them. We all knew that situation at the beginning. There’s nothing new with that. It’s just hard. Guys put a lot into it and they give it their best and it can’t work out for everybody. But I’ve been on the other side of the table, too.”
And while we hope for the best for the Patriots building their team, it’s also important to remember that these players are people with hopes and dreams that might disappear after this weekend.
Look at this picture. It’s TE Jacob Hollister (#48) and his twin brother WR Cody Hollister (#81). Both Hollisters scored a touchdown against the Giants, with Jacob’s drawing the team within a score of their comeback.
These are brothers that share a locker trying to achieve their dream. Maybe one of them will make the active roster. Maybe both will end up on the practice squad. Maybe neither will. But in this moment they’re soaking in what could be the last time they play football together or at all.
So as we compile these roster cuts, let’s always root for the people to succeed, wherever they land.
September 1st roster moves
Patriots have released fullback Glenn Gronkowski to bring the roster down to 88 players.
Patriots have released TE Sam Cotton, OG Jason King, and EDGE Mikey Bart to bring the roster down to 85 players.
Patriots have released OL Max Rich and DL Josh Augusta to bring the roster down to 83 players.
Patriots have released rookie safety Jason Thompson to bring the roster down to 82 players.
Patriots have released veteran linebacker Jonathan Freeny to bring the roster down to 81.
September 2nd roster moves
Patriots acquire ST Johnson Bademosi from the Lions to bring roster up to 82.
Patriots send QB Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts for WR Phillip Dorsett.
Find someone that will hug you like Bill Belichick hugs his 3rd string quarterback after a 27-0 shutout in prime time pic.twitter.com/BB1z0Wn7Le— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) September 23, 2016
The Patriots have released wide receiver K.J. Maye and LB Trevor Bates to bring the roster down to 80.
The Patriots have released running backs D.J. Foster and LeShun Daniels Jr. as well as cornerback D.J. Killings to bring the roster down to 77.
The Patriots have released cornerback Kenny Moore II, safety Damarius Travis and guard Jamil Douglas to bring the roster down to 74.
The Patriots have released wide receiver Cody Hollister, safety David Jones and edge defender Nick Usher to bring the roster down to 71.
The Patriots have released wide receiver Austin Carr and tight end James O'Shaughnessy to bring the roster down to 69.
The Patriots have released defensive edge Geneo Grissom to bring the roster down to 68.
The Patriots have traded a seventh round draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks for defensive lineman Cassius Marsh. The roster is back to 69.
The Patriots have released running back Brandon Bolden to bring the roster down to 68.
The Patriots have released the following players to bring the roster to 59: WR Devin Lucien, WR Tony Washington, OG Ted Karras, OT Conor McDermott, OC James Ferentz, DT Woodrow Hamilton, DT Darius Kilgo, LB Brooks Ellis, CB Will Likely.
The Patriots have placed offensive tackle Antonio Garcia on the non-football illness list and Keionta Davis and Andrew Jelks on the non-football injury list to bring the roster to 56.
The Patriots have placed wide receiver Julian Edelman, cornerback Cyrus Jones and defensive lineman Derek Rivers on injured reserve to bring the roster to 53.