When the clock struck midnight from Sunday to Monday, the Julian Edelman’s four-game suspension officially came to an end. However, the wide receiver did not immediately join the New England Patriots’ roster and instead spent the last four days on a roster exemption list. This allowed the Patriots to carry 53 men on their active roster despite Edelman’s suspension being over.
In order to activate the veteran, however, New England now needs to make a move to free up a roster spot – and according to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, running back Kenjon Barner will be the vicitm:
The Patriots will have to make a roster move to account for WR Julian Edelman’s return to the 53-man roster, and barring a late change, the expectation is that it will be RB Kenjon Barner let go. That would leave team with just Sony Michel and James White at RB tonight.
The 28-year old originally joined the Patriots after week one to serve as a depth option at running back and punt returner. However, he was a healthy scratch for his first potential game and subsequently let go again. Barner rejoined the team last week and saw some playing time against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday but failed to establish himself as a fixture on the roster despite New England lacking depth at the running back position.
The move, as Reiss notes, will leave the Patriots with just two running backs on their active roster: first-round draft pick Sony Michel and veteran James White. The duo performed well but more depth behind them is still needed. New England also has undrafted rookie Ralph Webb on its practice squad, and Rex Burkhead as a candidate to return off the injured reserve list. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson could also receive snaps at running back.
[UPDATE, 10/04, 5:30 p.m. ET] As the Patriots announced, they have indeed activated Julian Edelman and released Kenjon Barner to make room for him.