The New England Patriots’ 2020 season will come to an end on Sunday, with the 6-9 team already being eliminated from postseason contention. On the eve of their final game against the New York Jets, however, the club has still made a series of transactions — including sending the team’s most productive running back this year to the injured reserve list.
Let’s go through the moves, which have already been announced by the club, one-by-one.
RB Damien Harris: Placed on injured reserve
Sending Harris to injured reserve is only a formality at this point in time to open up an additional spot on the 53-man squad for another player to take during the regular season finale. After all, the second-year running back was already ruled out of the game versus the Jets because of an ankle injury that already cost him the last two games as well. Before his injury and after already starting the year on IR as well, Harris had appeared in 10 games for the Patriots and registered a team-high 691 rushing yards as well as two touchdowns.
G Ross Reynolds: Elevated from practice squad
With both David Andrews and Shaq Mason already ruled out of Sunday’s game because of calf injuries, the Patriots decided to bolster their depth up front by using one of their game-day practice squad elevations on Ross Reynolds. The interior offensive lineman first arrived in New England in November and will make his Patriots debut on Sunday. In fact, an in-game appearance would be the first ever in Reynold’s two years as a pro.
LB Cassh Maluia: Signed to 53-man roster
Just like the Reynolds elevation, the Patriots adding Cassh Maluia to their 53-man roster from their practice squad was also already reported earlier on Saturday. The rookie linebacker, who has appeared in a total of eight games for New England so far this season, offers depth at a position that has been bitten by the injury bug recently. While he has only eight defensive snaps on his résumé compared to 72 in the kicking game, signing Maluia to the active squad after he was already out of standard elevations for the year gives the Patriots another body to work with. It also ensures he is under contract for 2021.
LB Rashod Berry: Signed to 53-man roster
An undrafted rookie out of Ohio State, Berry saw time at linebacker and tight end during his college career — offering depth at both positions at the pro level. Thus far, however, the Patriots have only used him on defense: he has played 26 snaps as an edge linebacker and situational pass rusher in his two games so far, as well as 18 more on special teams. As is the case with Maluia, Berry a) offers depth at a depleted linebacker corps and b) is now on the team for 2021 while not having to be signed to a futures pact after the season.
CB Michael Jackson Sr: Signed to 53-man roster
The Patriots sent a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft to the Detroit Lions earlier this year to bring Jackson aboard via trade. While he went on to participate in New England’s training camp, he eventually failed to crack one of the deepest cornerback groups in the NFL. Jackson was therefore released in early September before returning to the team’s practice squad later that month. The 23-year-old has been on the Patriots’ developmental roster ever since, but will now get a chance to prove himself on the 53-man team — at least for one day.
CB D’Angelo Ross: Elevated from practice squad
Just like Ross Reynolds, D’Angelo Ross is also set to make his NFL debut on Sunday. A second-year cornerback, who spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve, Ross was a member of New England’s practice squad all season long. While it remains to be seen how much action he will get on a cornerback depth chart that is missing Stephon Gilmore but still has plenty of bodies left — including Jackson — Ross being elevated at least gives him a chance to be part of a different game-day preparation for once.