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Examining the roster ties between Patriots, Dolphins ahead of Week 1

Former Patriots and former Dolphins will revisit Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

NFL: AUG 29 Preseason - Dolphins at Bengals Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When former New England Patriots assistant coaches in Brian Flores, Josh Boyer and George Godsey revisit Gillette Stadium for the 2021 season opener, so will a long line of former members of the locker room.

But the roster connections with the Miami Dolphins go both directions.

Here’s a glance through the list of players who spent time both in Foxborough and in Miami Gardens with Sunday’s AFC East kickoff set for 4:25 p.m. ET.


Jacoby Brissett, quarterback — The North Carolina State product by way of the Florida Gators was drafted No. 91 overall in 2016. Brissett started two of his appearances as a Patriots rookie, going 34-of-55 through the air for 400 yards while adding 83 yards and a touchdown on 16 ground attempts. A Super Bowl LI ring arrived along the way before Brissett was traded to the Indianapolis Colts on Labor Day weekend in 2017 for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. He went on to start 30 games during his Colts tenure, throwing for 31 touchdowns against 13 interceptions and rushing for 13 scores. The 28-year-old Brissett signed a one-year deal with Miami in March.

Isaiah Ford, wide receiver — At the trade deadline last November, Ford was acquired by New England in exchange for a conditional late-round selection in the 2022 draft. The wideout was in uniform for one game yet did not log a snap while with the Patriots. He made his way back to Miami Gardens upon clearing waivers in December. Ford now begins his fifth NFL season on the practice squad, having re-signed Monday. The 25-year-old out of Virginia Tech originally landed with the Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, and has caught 51 passes for 520 yards through 19 career contests.

Adam Butler, defensive tackle — Butler entered the league as part of New England’s 2017 undrafted class. The Vanderbilt convert to the defensive side of the ball saw action in 63 games over the regular seasons from there, starting a dozen. Butler totaled 96 tackles and 15 sacks as a Patriot while batting down nine passes. After playing 2020 on the restricted tender, the Super Bowl LIII champion reached a two-year, $7 million contract with the Dolphins as the unrestricted window opened. Butler’s contract includes $3.75 million guaranteed. The 27-year-old had registered five sacks over eight career Miami matchups.

Jabaal Sheard, defensive end — The Dolphins signed the 32-year-old Sheard to the practice squad at its formation after initial rosters were set around the NFL. It marks the sixth stop for Sheard since landing in the second round of the 2011 draft. New England marked the second. The Patriots signed the veteran defensive end to a two-year, $11 million contract in March 2015. Sheard went on to collect a Super Bowl LI ring while playing in 28 games and making nine starts. He recorded 70 tackles, 13 sacks and four forced fumbles during his pair of regular seasons with New England.

Elandon Roberts, linebacker — A Patriots captain in 2019 and a Dolphins captain in 2020, Roberts re-signed for 2021. The linebacker from Morgan State and Houston had tallied 206 tackles, four sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery with New England after arriving in the sixth round of the 2016 draft. He worked overtime at fullback, as well, and scored a touchdown versus his current defense. Roberts started 11 contests last season before going on injured reserve in December due to a knee injury. Prior to then, the 27-year-old Dolphin had posted 61 tackles and 1.5 sacks to go with one fumble forced and recovered.

Calvin Munson, linebacker — Munson signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted rookie in 2017. The ex-San Diego State linebacker then signed to New England’s practice squad in October 2018 and remained in that capacity until December 2019, when he agreed to depart for Miami’s active roster. Munson appeared in every game for the Dolphins last campaign, recording nine tackles through 47 snaps on defense and 220 snaps on special teams. The 26-year-old has since moved to the Miami practice squad for the start of 2021.

Justin Coleman, cornerback — Undrafted out of Tennessee in 2015, Coleman’s rookie year saw him go from the Minnesota Vikings to New England to the Seattle Seahawks and back to New England. From there, the nickelback appeared in 20 games, made the first three starts of his career and deflected eight passes. Coleman would be traded heading into the 2017 season. Now 28, the Super Bowl LI champion signed with Miami this offseason after being released halfway through a four-year, $36 million deal with the Detroit Lions.

Jamal Perry, cornerback — Perry had made the Dolphins’ 53-man roster in consecutive years before beginning 2021 on the practice squad. He’s since been elevated as a Covid-19 replacement for Week 1. Perry previously spent the entirety of two years on the Patriots’ practice squad after going undrafted in 2017. Now at age 26, the Iowa State Cyclone stands 27 games and seven starts into his NFL stay. There have been 84 tackles, seven passes defensed and an interception along the way for Perry, who was an exclusive-rights free agent over the offseason.

Jason McCourty, safety — McCourty appeared in 47 games with New England, including postseason, after touching down from the Cleveland Browns in an exchange of late-round draft selections that were separated by 12 slots. He started 36 while having a hand in 162 tackles, 23 passes defensed, a pair of interceptions and a Super Bowl LIII chase to the end zone. McCourty re-signed with the Patriots on a two-year deal in 2019 and was named a team captain after his option was exercised last year. The Rutgers alum joined the Dolphins in May. He and twin brother Devin McCourty turned 34 in August.

Eric Rowe, safety — Rowe made the full-time transition from cornerback to safety en route to signing a three-year, $18 million extension with Miami in 2020. By then, he had surpassed 1,000 defensive snaps and returned an interception for a touchdown versus his prior club. Rowe had been a member of two Super Bowl champion teams in New England after being acquired from Philadelphia for a conditional draft choice in 2016. The 28-year-old Utah Ute has since started 29 games with the Dolphins. He’s finished second on the defense in tackles in back-to-back seasons.


Brandon Bolden, running back — The four-down back from Ole Miss has spent all but one season of his NFL run with New England. It followed his release during 2018 roster cutdowns and led to a full 16 games with Miami. Bolden logged two touchdowns and two tackles that year against the organization he signed with as a rookie free agent in 2012. He played 66 percent of the snaps on special teams in the process. A two-time Super Bowl champion, Bolden returned to the Patriots on a two-year deal in 2019. The latter year tolled after his Covid-19 opt-out last July. At age 31, Bolden is now in jersey No. 25.

Malcolm Perry, wide receiver — The Patriots were awarded Perry off waivers from the Dolphins as the calendar turned to September. The former Navy quarterback had set a single-season FBS record at the position with 2,017 rushing yards as a senior. Perry entered the NFL in the seventh round of the 2020 draft at No. 246 overall. And as a rookie, the 24-year-old appeared in nine games for Miami. Those games included nine receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown along with three rushes for five yards.

Ted Karras, center — The Patriots selected Karras in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, and the versatile interior lineman out of Illinois went on to appear in 60 games during his initial stint. The Dolphins signed Karras to a one-year deal in 2020. He proceeded to be named an offensive captain. All 16 games were started and all 1,067 snaps were played by Karras at center. He reconvened with New England in March on a deal carrying $3 million fully guaranteed.

Davon Godchaux, defensive tackle — Godchaux signed a two-year deal worth up to $16 million with the Patriots as the league year commenced in March. The nose tackle started 42 of his 52 games for Miami after getting the call in the fifth round of the 2017 draft out of LSU. Godchaux’s career includes 179 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble. The 26-year-old’s final season on the Dolphins’ defensive line ended on injured reserve due to a biceps tear last October after five starts.

Kyle Van Noy, linebacker — Released by the Dolphins one year into a four-year, $51 million contract that included $15 million fully guaranteed, Van Noy announced his return to the Patriots in March. The outside linebacker had started 13 games as a team captain in 2020. He finished his lone campaign in Miami with 69 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Van Noy had won a pair of Super Bowls with New England after being acquired from Detroit in 2016 as selections in the sixth and seventh rounds changed hands. The 30-year-old via Brigham Young holds a spot on the franchise’s All-Decade team.

Raekwon McMillan, linebacker — McMillan signed with the Patriots in March and was placed on injured reserve following a torn ACL in August. The Ohio State Buckeye originally entered the league with the Dolphins at pick No. 54 overall in the 2017 draft. After missing his rookie season due to a torn ACL, McMillan made his way back to start 28 contests through the next two seasons. He amassed 177 tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery over that stretch before a hamstring injury sent him to IR late in 2019. McMillan was on the field for 1,346 defensive downs for Miami before being traded to the Las Vegas Raiders last summer.