Just hours before their primetime matchup against the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots have made a series of roster moves to fill out the backend of their game-day squad. The team elevated two players — defensive tackle Nick Thurman and linebacker Cassh Maluia — from the practice squad, and also signed center Marcus Martin to its 53-man roster.
Let’s take a closer look at the moves in question.
LB Cassh Maluia: Elevated to game-day roster
Maluia originally arrived in New England as a sixth-round selection in this year’s draft. While he failed to make the initial 53-man roster, he signed with the Patriots’ practice squad following his release and shortly thereafter was promoted to the active team. He appeared in six games as a three-unit special teamer — playing 65 snaps in the game’s third phase along the way — but his limited his value on defense led to his eventual release in mid-November.
Maluia went on to appear in one more game as a practice squad elevatee, but reverted back to the practice squad after the Week 10 contest against the Baltimore Ravens. Now, he gets another chance as a standard elevation.
C Marcus Martin: Signed to 53-man roster
Martin entered the NFL as a third-round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2014 and appeared in 26 games over the next three seasons, including 24 starts. Having lost his starting spot at center in 2016, however, he was let got by the team the following season. The 6-foot-3, 320-pound lineman spent the next four seasons with four separate teams, joining the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions following his departure from San Francisco.
Along the way, Martin played in only two more NFL games. He spent the 2017 season as a reserve in Cleveland, was on the Cowboys’ injured reserve one year later, and out of the league altogether following his release from Seattle 2019. He finally saw the field again with the Lions, playing five snaps on special teams earlier this year.
The 27-year-old will fill the roster spot previously held by cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was placed on injured reserve last week.
DT Nick Thurman: Elevated to game-day roster
Thurman has been on and off the Patriots’ active and game day rosters as well as the team’s practice squad quite a bit this season. An undrafted rookie signing by the Houston Texans in 2018, he arrived in New England in 2019 via the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After spending the entire season on the practice squad, he made his Patriots debut earlier this season and went on to appear in six total games. He played 92 defensive snaps and 13 more on special teams.
Now, Thurman will get another chance to add to those numbers: the Patriots elevated him from their practice squad as a Covid-19 replacement for tight end Jordan Thomas. Like Cassh Maluia, the 25-year-old will automatically revert to the developmental roster after the game.