The New England Patriots’ practice squad continues to grow. After six players were already signed earlier on Sunday — including two draft selections from earlier this year in kicker Justin Rohrwasser and linebacker Cassh Maluia — the team has reportedly added three more to the equation:
TE Jake Burt
K Nick Folk
DT Nick Thurman
With the three men now back after originally getting released from the Patriots’ active roster ahead of Saturday’s cutdown deadline, nine of the 16 available practice squad spots are now filled — including one of the six reserved for veterans. That spot belongs to kicker Nick Folk.
Folk’s return means not just that the veteran will remain in New England after originally getting re-signed in August to compete for the kicker job, but also that the competition is back on: both Folk and the aforementioned Rohrwasser fought for the gig in training camp; both were released yesterday; both were re-signed via the practice squad. Of course, with New England not carrying a player at the position on its 53-man squad at the moment, it would not be a surprise if one of the two was promoted again soon.
Such a move is expected to happen after some roster gymnastics on New England’s end related to the injured reserve list: players can only be brought back from IR if they are on the active team through Sunday’s 4 pm deadline. The Patriots could wait for the deadline to pass to move, for example, defensive tackle Beau Allen to the reserve list, to promote either Folk or Rohrwasser back to the active team. Keeping them on the practice squad in the meantime allows both to practice today.
Of course, the team could get even more creative and use the new roster expansion to promote one of the two exclusively on game day: teams are allowed to elevate up to two players per week from their practice squad to the game day roster without having to cut a member of the 53-man team. They would automatically revert back if not signed to the active team, even though this procedure can be applied just twice and not in back-to-back weeks.
The other players retained via the practice squad are non-vested veterans. Jake Burt, a Patriots fan growing up who found his way to the team after going undrafted out of Boston College, offers depth at the tight end position; Nick Thurman already spent last year on New England’s practice squad and gives the team an additional body at the defensive tackle position that faces some questions as mentioned above.