With the 21-day roster activation window for quarterback Jarrett Stidham and defensive tackle Byron Cowart closing on Wednesday, the New England Patriots needed to make some decisions this week. Either they would activate them off the physically unable to perform list, or the they would be shut down for the rest of the season.
While Stidham was indeed activated on Tuesday, Cowart’s status remained up in the air heading into deadline day. Now, we know that he will not be back this season: head coach Bill Belichick confirmed on Wednesday morning that the youngster will stay on the PUP list.
A fifth-round draft selection by the Patriots in 2019, Cowart appeared in 19 games over his first two seasons in the league. By his sophomore campaign, he had established himself as the team’s number four interior defensive lineman in terms of snaps played. However, Cowart was forced to open his third training camp in the league on New England’s PUP list for undisclosed reasons.
He did return to practice in October alongside Stidham, but as opposed to the third-year quarterback he was not activated. He will therefore remain on PUP for the rest of the season without being eligible to be activated.
While Belichick did not give any additional information about Cowart’s activation status other than that he would not return, he did talk a bit about Jarrett Stidham. After saying that he was “trending in the right direction” and that the Patriots would “see how it goes,” he also noted that the depth at the quarterback position played a role in the decision.
“Depth at that position’s always important,” Belichick said.
New England also has three other players who are allowed to return to practice off either PUP or the non-football injury list (NFI) at any point. However, linebackers Terez Hall and Cameron McGrone as well as defensive back Joshuah Bledsoe have not done so just yet.