The New England Patriots have one of the most stable rosters in the NFL. When the team makes transactions, they mostly concern the practice squad. Behind the scenes, however, the team is working on keeping its files updated in case an outside player needs to be brought on board. The team did just that again on Monday, as ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss reported.
Let's take a look at the four players that were brought in for free agency workouts.
OC Gino Gradkowski
The Baltimore Ravens selected Gradkowski in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Over the next three seasons, the Delaware product appeared in a total of 46 games for the team, starting all 16 in 2013. He was traded to the Denver Broncos during the 2015 offseason but cut shortly afterwards. Gradkowski subsequently spent the 2015 with the Atlanta Falcons and 2016 with the Carolina Panthers, for whom he appeared in 10 games last year. The Panthers released the 28-year old off injured reserve three weeks ago.
SS Harold Jones-Quartey
Spending his college career with Division II's Findlay University, Jones-Quartey went undrafted in 2015. The Atlanta Falcons ultimately signed the 5'11, 210 lbs defensive back as a free agent but released him during final roster cutdowns. He was claimed off waiver by the Chicago Bears, for whom he would play 29 games over the next two seasons as a rotational safety and special teamer. However, in early September, the Bears opted to release the 24-year old, who has been out of work since.
OG Nate Theaker
After six years at Wayne State, where he was a starter at right tackle, right guard and left tackle, Theaker went unselected in 2017. Shortly after the draft, the Dallas Cowboys brought the 6'5, 315 lbs lineman aboard as a rookie free agent. After playing predominately on the interior in Dallas during the offseason, Theaker was released in the course of final roster cutdowns. He was added to the Cowboys' practice squad but waived off it last week.
OG Earl Watford
Picked in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft, Watford spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals. Splitting time at right guard and right tackle, the 27-year old appeared in a total of 33 games, starting 13. After hitting unrestricted free agency earlier this year, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed the 6'4, 300 lbs lineman to a two-year contract but released him during final roster cutdowns.
As things stand right now, neither of the players above should be considered realistic competition for one of the players currently on the roster. However, in case of emergency they bring positional versatility and, with the exception of Theaker, experience to the table.