After the thrilling conclusion to the Patriots preseason, the only thing standing in the way of the start of real football was the cut-down to a 53 man roster. This year, the mid-preseason cut to 75 was removed, meaning teams would purge more than a third of their roster in a 48 hour span. The Patriots cuts didn’t carry too many shockers (you can see the roster tracker here), but they were very active in the trade market. Let’s take a look at the biggest takeaways from the final roster.
The team wasn’t as high on Austin Carr as the media
Once Julian Edelman was lost for the season, general consensus was that space may have freed up for the preseason fan-favorite from Northwestern. Instead, the Patriots traded Jacoby Brissett to the Colts for former first round pick Phillip Dorsett. This could be looked at a couple ways: either the team wasn’t sold enough on Carr and they decided to bring in outside help at WR, or (if you want to argue that Dorsett is being brought in more as a special teams player) Carr wasn’t ever going to make this roster. Either way, the Patriots clearly weren’t sold on their preseason receiving yardage leader.
Ted Karras was the biggest surprise cut
Most of the cuts made could be seen coming, but Ted Karras easily qualifies as a surprise cut. Throughout the preseason, it looked like Ted Karras would be the teams first interior offensive lineman off the bench. He transitioned to center this year after playing guard, providing the versatility the Patriots usually love. Cole Croston appeared to take his spot, but Karras shouldn’t have trouble landing on another teams 53.
Seattle and New England just became trade best friends
On Friday, the Patriots traded cornerback Justin Coleman to Seattle in exchange for a 7th round pick. On Saturday, the Patriots sent that pick back, as well as a 5th rounder in exchange for defensive end Cassius Marsh. Marsh is a solid role player who was a victim of the depth Seattle has on the line after trading for Sheldon Richardson. Getting Marsh was the best move the Patriots made this weekend, and it looks like they have a new trade partner similar to the Bears.
Even with incredible depth, Patriots love their UDFA
There was a lot of speculation that this would be the year the Patriots streak of UDFA making the roster ended. Instead, they’re bringing four with them into week 1—TE Jacob Hollister, IOL Cole Croston, DL Adam Butler, and LB Harvey Langi. It will be interesting to see what roles, if any, are carved for these rookies, but it’s clear the team is high on all of them (and further proof they weren’t very high on Carr)
Dont’a Hightower is going to be an EDGE rusher
There are only three prototypical EDGE rushers currently on the roster: Trey Flowers, who works best when he kicks inside; Cassius Marsh, who was just brought over; and Deatrich Wise Jr., a rookie 4th round pick. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them add another through waivers or off of free agency, but their roster moves and Hightower practicing with the DE’s in practice, it’s clear that the defensive leader who spent plenty of time on the EDGE last year could be seeing the majority of snaps there this year.