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2021 NFL roster cuts tracker: Patriots news, rumors, releases, trades, instant analysis

Related: 80 thoughts on the Patriots’ 80-man roster at the end of camp

New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

One of the NFL’s busiest weeks is upon us: By Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. ET, every one of the league’s 32 franchises will have cut its roster down from 80 to 53. This means that hundreds of players are about to hit waivers and the open market over the next few hours. There will not only be plenty of releases, however, but also a lot of other transactions ranging from trades, to waiver-wire pickups, to free-agent signings.

To not get lost in all the craziness, make sure to bookmark and regularly visit this New England Patriots cutdown tracker. We will compile all the latest news, rumors and instant analysis here, and also count down to how many more players will have to go in order for the team to bring its squad under the regular-season threshold. There are multiple ways of getting down to the 53-man limit, and here they are:

Release

Releasing players is the most common option on cutdown weekend to reduce the number of players under contract. A player’s deal is terminated and he either hits open market if he has more than four accrued seasons on his résumé, or the waiver wire if he is less experienced than that. Because of their 7-9 season of 2020, the Patriots have a higher spot on the waiver wire priority list than usual. This year they rank 15th.

Reserve list

To reduce the number of men under contract, teams can also place players on one of the various reserve lists. Injured reserve is the most common one: Players that have suffered an injury and will be out for an extended period of time can get placed there. If they are moved to IR before 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, they will be out for the season; if moved there after Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, they are eligible to be brought back via the return spots available to each club.

The Patriots already had multiple players on injured reserve before the last wave of cutdowns; linebacker Raekwon McMillan, tight ends Dalton Keene and Troy Fumagalli, and offensive lineman Marcus Martin are all currently on IR.

Trade

New England has made plenty of trades around the cutdown deadline over the last few years. This preseason they traded running back Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams and acquired defensive back Shaun Wade from the Baltimore Ravens in a busy 48-hour period. More swaps are always likely.


Patriots releases/departures/etc.

S Adrian Colbert: Released

WR Tre Nixon: Waived

DT Bill Murray: Waived

G Will Sherman: Waived

WR Kristian Wilkerson: Waived

CB Dee Virgin: Waived

CB D’Angelo Ross: Waived

TE Matt LaCosse: Released

G Alex Redmond: Released

CB Myles Bryant: Waived

WR Isaiah Zuber: Waived

DT Montravius Adams: Released

QB Cam Newton: Released

CB Stephon Gilmore: PUP

DT Akeem Spence: Released

DT Byron Cowart: PUP

LB Cameron McGrone: NFI

K Nick Folk: Released

QB Brian Hoyer: Released

C James Ferentz: Released

OT Korey Cunningham: Waived

LB Tashawn Bower: Waived

CB Michael Jackson Sr.: Waived

DT Nick Thurman: Waived/Injured

LB Anfernee Jennings: IR

QB Jarrett Stidham: PUP

LB Terez Hall: PUP

S Joshuah Bledsoe: NFI


Patriots acquisitions

OL Yasir Durant: Trade


Patriots cutdown tracker

Aug. 30

  • Veteran safety Adrian Colbert had signed in the midst of organized team activities in May. The Patriots marked the sixth NFL team for the 2017 seventh-round pick by way of the Texas Longhorns and Miami Hurricanes. Colbert intercepted a pass during his preseason audition, but faced a formidable depth chart. [Patriots roster: 79 players]
  • Rookie seventh-round pick Tre Nixon was the Patriots’ final selection in the 2021 NFL draft. He was handpicked by former Patriots football research director Ernie Adams, who was given the opportunity to make the selection in his final draft with the team. After struggling to find consistent snaps throughout the preseason, Nixon fell behind more experienced receivers in the climb to a roster spot. [Patriots roster: 78 players]
  • Second-year defensive tackle Bill Murray initially arrived to New England as an undrafted rookie free agent last spring. He stuck to the Patriots’ practice squad throughout the 2020 regular season and agreed to a futures pact with the team in January, leading him into training camp. Despite a strong preseason performance where he made a number of splash plays, including 1.5 sacks on Sunday, the newly rebuilt core of defensive tackles stunted his chances to make the final roster. [Patriots roster: 77 players]
  • The Patriots made an addition to their roster late on Monday, acquiring offensive lineman Yasir Durant from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a 2022 seventh-round draft pick. Durant made one start for Kansas City last season and played in a total of 11 games, appearing at both guard and tackle. His addition brings some much-needed positional flexibility to New England’s front line. [Patriots roster: 78 players]

Aug. 31

  • Rookie offensive lineman Will Sherman, a candidate for the practice squad, had landed with the Patriots in the sixth round of the spring’s draft at No. 197 overall. The Colorado product played inside and out for the Buffaloes, and exclusively worked at right guard during New England’s preseason. [Patriots roster: 77 players]
  • Second-year wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson was in contention for a 53-man spot after having caught 13 passes for 147 yards on 15 targets in the preseason. He spent the 2020 on New England’s practice squad after entering the league with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent out of Southeast Missouri State. [Patriots roster: 76 players]
  • Cornerback Dee Virgin was signed by New England as the calendar turned to January after making previous stops with the Houston Texans, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. He went undrafted out of West Alabama in 2017, and saw extensive work on special teams during the Patriots’ preseason. [Patriots roster: 75 players]
  • D’Angelo Ross spent 2019 on injured reserve and 2020 on the practice squad. The undrafted defensive back out of New Mexico started at nickelback in New England’s preseason finale and later corralled an interception at safety. [Patriots roster: 74 players]
  • Veteran tight end Matt LaCosse was vying for a fourth spot on the depth chart after returning from his Covid-19 opt-out season. He had signed a two-year deal with the Patriots in March 2019 and started eight games that ensuing campaign to catch 13 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown. [Patriots roster: 73 players]
  • Guard Alex Redmond agreed to terms with New England in May. The 2016 undrafted arrival out of UCLA had played in 32 games as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, starting 24 over the past three years at right guard. [Patriots roster: 72 players]
  • Defensive back Myles Bryant began 2020 on the Patriots’ practice squad after arriving as a rookie free agent. The Washington Husky would be signed to the active roster midway through last September, and appeared in 11 contests while working both at cornerback and safety. He logged nine tackles and one interception over that span. [Patriots roster: 71 players]
  • Wideout Isaiah Zuber caught a touchdown in New England’s final preseason audition. He originally signed with the organization as a rookie free agent by way of Kansas State and Mississippi State last spring, and served as an elevation from the practice squad to handle two receptions for 29 yards and two rushes for 21 yards. [Patriots roster: 70 players]
  • A former first-team All-SEC selection at Auburn, defensive lineman Montravius Adams signed with New England in March after four seasons with the Green Bay Packers. But a crowded depth chart of investments limited the roster window for the 2017 third-round draft choice. [Patriots roster: 69 players]
  • Cam Newton had re-signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal featuring $3.5 million guaranteed after starting 15 games last season. The former NFL MVP started all three of August’s exhibition games, staying in for a combined seven series before his release. Rookie No. 15 overall pick Mac Jones will get the green light on the heels of throwing his first NFL touchdown pass on Sunday. [Patriots roster: 68 players]
  • 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore will reportedly begin the regular season on physically unable to perform. The cornerback, who turns 31 in September, will miss a minimum of six weeks as a result. Gilmore is due a $7 million base salary in the final year of his Patriots contract following a $4.5 million advance last fall. He underwent surgery to repair a partially torn quad in December and remained on active PUP through the conclusion of training camp after not attending organized team activities and mandatory minicamp. [Patriots roster: 67 players]
  • Veteran defensive tackle Akeem Spence had joined New England’s practice squad last November and signed to the active roster in December after serving as an elevation. He appeared in six games over that span while seeing 104 snaps on defense and 21 snaps on special teams. Spence originally entered the league at pick No. 100 overall in the 2013 draft out of Illinois. [Patriots roster: 66 players]
  • Third-year Patriots defensive lineman Byron Cowart will also reportedly begin the regular season on physically unable to perform. The 2019 fifth-round pick from Auburn and Maryland started each of his 14 games as an NFL sophomore with New England, totaling 27 tackles and one sack. Cowart is eligible to return to the active fold in Week 7. [Patriots roster: 65 players]
  • Patriots rookie linebacker Cameron McGrone suffered a torn ACL last November as a redshirt sophomore at Michigan. Pick No. 177 overall remained on the non-football injury list through the close of training camp in Foxborough. McGrone can begin practicing after six weeks of the regular season pass on NFI. [Patriots roster: 64 players]
  • Incumbent kicker Nick Folk has been released as the Patriots are set to turn the position over to undrafted rookie Quinn Nordin. Nordin, a Michigan product, went on to kick in all three preseason games, going 6-of-8 on field goals and 4-of-7 on extra points with longs of 48 and 50 yards. Folk is not subject to waivers as a vested veteran. He re-signed with New England in March on a one-year deal featuring $1.225 million guaranteed. [Patriots roster: 63 players]
  • Quarterback Brian Hoyer’s release would be among New England’s final round of moves to as the 4 p.m. ET deadline passed Tuesday. The 35-year-old’s absence from practice could prove brief as a vested veteran not subject to waivers with procedural moves ahead. [Patriots roster: 62 players]
  • The Patriots also released center James Ferentz and waived offensive tackle Korey Cunningham, outside linebacker Tashawn Bower and cornerback Michael Jackson Sr. to get to 53. Additionally, defensive tackle Nick Thurman received the injury designation while linebacker Anfernee Jennings was placed on injured reserve, ending his sophomore NFL campaign. An opportunity remains for quarterback Jarrett Stidham and linebacker Terez Hall to return. Both will begin New England’s regular season on physically unable to perform while and safety Joshuah Bledsoe will do so on the non-football injury list. [Patriots roster: 53 players]