The New England Patriots made a few trades as they moved towards roster cuts and they all seem to improve the team’s special teams unit.
Then the Patriots sent a 2019 sixth round pick to the Detroit Lions for DB Johnson Bademosi, who was the Cleveland Browns’ special teams ace up until the Lions signed him this spring. A 2019 sixth rounder is worth the same as a 2018 seventh rounder according to draft value.
New England then shipped QB Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts for their WR2 Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett will mostly help on offense and has three more years on his rookie deal, but he could also help on punt returns.
Finally, the Patriots acquired EDGE Cassius Marsh from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for CB Justin Coleman and a 2018 fifth round pick, which implies he might also be more than just a special teams player- but he was considered “a leader” of the Seahawks special teams unit.
The Patriots also released RB Brandon Bolden, but are looking to “keep him around” in one way or another.
So the Patriots acquired four players that could directly help the Patriots special teams unit, with three (Flowers, Bademosi, and Marsh) potentially core teams players. They will join Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner, Brandon King, and Jonathan Jones to form what should be the core of the third phase. I would expect rookie Harvey Langi to be a part of this core, too.
These moves could all point towards Shea McClellin starting the season on the injured reserve with the possibility to return in the middle of the year because he was also a core special teams player in 2016.