Just hours before their kickoff against the Los Angeles Rams, the New England Patriots have made a series of roster moves: as was announced by the club on Thursday, it has activated Devin Asiasi off injured reserve and simultaneously moved fellow tight end Ryan Izzo from its 53-man roster to IR. Furthermore, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, wide receiver Julian Edelman has returned off the Coronavirus reserve list while remaining on IR.
Let’s take a closer look at the three moves.
TE Devin Asiasi: Activated from injured reserve to the 53-man roster
After returning to practice in late November, thus opening his 21-day activation window, the Patriots’ second-round draft pick is now officially back on the team. Asiasi was originally moved to injured reserve earlier that month because of an undisclosed ailment, but after three missed games was eligible to rejoin the team.
One of the Patriots’ third-round draft picks this year, Asiasi originally started the season as the team’s number two at the tight end position behind Ryan Izzo. After playing 81 of a possible 337 offensive snaps over the first five games of the season but not registering any statistics, the rookie saw his role on the team change: he was a healthy scratch in Week 7 before being deactivated because of personal reasons in Week 8 and later being sent to IR.
Now, he will join fellow rookie Dalton Keene and waiver claim Jordan Thomas on the 53-man squad — one that will miss Ryan Izzo for at least three weeks.
TE Ryan Izzo: Placed on injured reserve to the 53-man roster
One of three Patriots unable to finish the team’s 45-0 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Izzo was listed as questionable to play against the Rams because of hamstring, hand and neck injuries. Now, he will have at least three weeks to get back to full strength — being eligible to return for the regular season finale against the New York Jets, and a possible playoff run afterwards.
So far this season, the third year tight end has been the undisputed number one at the position. While he has caught just 13 passes for 199 yards, he was on the field for 626 of the Patriots’ 782 offensive snaps (80.1%) through 12 games — primarily as a blocker and in-line option.
With the former seventh-round draft pick now gone, the Patriots will turn to their two rookies as well as veteran Thomas to fill his role. However, their lack of experience in the system could become an issue: the three have played only 135 offensive combined snaps in New England.
WR Julian Edelman: Activated from Reserve/Covid-19 to injured reserve
Edelman was sent to the the NFL’s Coronavirus reserve list in late November — another blow for a player in what has been a challenging season. The 34-year-old was bothered by a knee issue ever since Week 2, and later had to be sent to injured reserve after undergoing a minor procedure on his knee in late October. While being sent to Reserve/Covid-19 did therefore not impact the Patriots’ active roster, it was another setback for Edelman.
He is now back, however, at least on injured reserve. Nevertheless, the veteran wideout is eligible to be activated to the 53-man roster at any point.