When the New England Patriots’ initial 53-man roster was set on Saturday, linebacker Cassh Maluia was not part of it: the sixth-round rookie was released as part of final cut-downs. The decision to expose Maluia to the waiver wire was a surprising one at the time considering that he had a solid training camp, but he eventually went unclaimed and re-signed with the New England 16-man practice squad.
Just one day later, however, he will leave the developmental roster again: according to a report by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Maluia will be promoted to the active team. In order to create a spot for him on the 53-man team, per ESPN’s Field Yates, New England will move defensive tackle Beau Allen to its injured reserve list.
Promoting Maluia will give the Patriots some much needed depth in the off-the-ball linebacker department. After cutdown day, defensive signal caller Ja’Whaun Bentley remained as the lone player at the position with move options Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Brandon Copeland offering additional bodies.
After originally entering the NFL projected to become a downhill run-first defender, the Wyoming product appeared to make some solid strides in coverage as well. His outlook for the 2020 season is therefore projected to be as an Elandon Roberts-like inside linebacker: primarily an early-down defender who also has value in the kicking game and the versatility to drop back into coverage as well if need be.
Allen, meanwhile, will start his first season in New England on injured reserve. The big-bodied defensive tackle, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent earlier this year, missed the entire full-team portion of training camp for undisclosed reasons but made the initial 53 — an indication that his absence is expected to end before the season. After all, moving him to injured reserve now allows the team to eventually bring him back as early as three weeks from now.
With the 28-year-old now on IR, the Patriots have four primary interior defensive linemen remaining on their active team: Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Byron Cowart. Xavier Williams, Nick Thurman and Bill Murray offer additional depth on the practice squad.
The open spot on New England’s developmental roster is expected to go to a wide receiver: undrafted rookies Mason Kinsey and Kristian Wilkerson have both reportedly agreed to join the Patriots; one of them will likely take over Maluia’s old spot. Who will be moved to make space for the second wideout remains to be seen at this point.