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Examining the roster ties between Patriots, Raiders ahead of Week 6

The past Patriots and past Raiders in the fold for Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The list of former New England Patriots extends beyond general manager Dave Ziegler, head coach Josh McDaniels and a staff featuring Mick Lombardi, Carmen Bricillo, Bo Hardegree, Jerry Schuplinski, Patrick Graham, Rob Ryan and Danny Amendola.

There’s a rolodex of names on the active roster and practice squad of the Las Vegas Raiders.

But the connections flow both directions and also include injured reserve. Here’s a glance heading into Sunday’s 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff at Allegiant Stadium.


Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback — Through four starts, Garoppolo’s inaugural season in Las Vegas has brought 917 yards, six touchdowns, seven interceptions and a completion rate of 68.8 percent. He signed a three-year contract in March. The 31-year-old Eastern Illinois alum did so after spending the previous six campaigns with the San Francisco 49ers, who acquired him during the 2017 NFL trade deadline. As the No. 62 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Garoppolo collected a pair of Super Bowl rings during his time in Foxborough. Across 17 appearances, including a pair of starts, he went 63-of-94 passing for 690 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.

Brian Hoyer, quarterback — The Patriots released Hoyer in March, ending his third separate tour with the team he originally joined as an undrafted free agent in 2009. But by April, the veteran QB out of Michigan State was back in the company of familiar faces on a two-year pact. He has appeared in one game this fall. Hoyer finished last season on injured reserve after sustaining a concussion during his 40th NFL start. The 37-year-old Super Bowl LIII champion has appeared in 77 career games while completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 10,668 yards with 53 touchdowns and 35 interceptions.

Brandon Bolden, running back — No running back selected in the 2012 NFL draft has outlasted Bolden, who signed with New England that spring as a rookie free agent out of Ole Miss. The 33-year-old has handled 76 percent of the snaps on special teams with Las Vegas this fall after finishing last campaign with 66 rushing yards, 57 receiving yards and four touchdowns on offense. Twice a Super Bowl champion and once a Miami Dolphin, Bolden appeared in 132 games during his tenure in Foxborough. And in 2021, the final year of his tolled contract, he tallied 226 rushing yards, 405 receiving yards and three touchdowns while remaining a core part of the Patriots’ kicking game.

Jakob Johnson, fullback — Moving away from a pure fullback in 2022, the Patriots declined to tender Johnson as a restricted free agent as the league year opened. The Tennessee Volunteer and native of Stuttgart, Germany, proceeded to join the Raiders that March. He had been assigned to New England as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program in 2019. The stay began on the practice squad after clearing waivers as a rookie. But 37 games followed. Johnson caught 13 passes for 83 yards and one touchdown over that span. The 28-year-old has since appeared in every game during his time with Las Vegas, starting 11 as a lead blocker while having a hand in six receptions for 22 yards.

Jakobi Meyers, wide receiver — Four starts into his Raiders career, Meyers has caught 25 passes for 374 yards with three touchdowns. He reached a three-year deal as an unrestricted free agent in March. Undrafted in 2019, the ex-North Carolina State quarterback recruit appeared in 60 games with the Patriots while amassing 235 catches for 2,758 yards and eight touchdowns. Another two scores were thrown by Meyers, who led the offense in receiving yards for three consecutive seasons. Tendered at the second-round level for 2022, the 26-year-old set a new best with six touchdowns and ranked second on the team in catches. He was New England’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.

DeAndre Carter, wide receiver — The Sacramento State standout spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and Raiders of Oakland before signing to New England’s practice squad as an undrafted rookie in December 2015. Carter would be released, re-signed and retained on a futures contract from there en route to a preseason touchdown catch. The 30-year-old has since made stops with an additional seven teams. Count the Raiders of Las Vegas among them. Through 82 career games, he stands with 1,241 receiving yards, 84 rushing yards and six touchdowns on offense. An additional score has come on special teams, where his run includes 1,113 yards on punt returns and 2,276 yards on kickoff returns.

Kristian Wilkerson, wide receiver — The Indianapolis Colts claimed Wilkerson off waivers in February after his final campaign with New England ended on injured reserve due to a concussion. The 26-year-old wideout was waived again in May before landing with Las Vegas. And on the 53-man roster. He has played in two games this fall, starting one. Undrafted out of Southeast Missouri State in 2020, Wilkerson spent his rookie training camp with the Tennessee Titans before joining the practice squad in Foxborough at its formation. Wilkerson appeared in four games as an elevation across the next two seasons, catching four passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns.

Jermaine Eluemunor, offensive tackle — Since agreeing to terms with the Raiders in 2021, Eluemunor has checked into 36 contests and started 22 straight. And while seeing snaps at left tackle and right guard, he has found a home at at right tackle for Las Vegas. Originally taken by Baltimore in the 2017 NFL draft’s fifth round, the transfer from Lackawanna College to Texas A&M headed to New England three summers later. Eluemunor did so as selections in the fourth and sixth rounds changed hands. Eluemunor started eight of his 22 appearances with the Patriots. The 28-year-old was retained as a restricted free agent before heading to three different organizations in 2021.

Justin Herron, offensive tackle — The Patriots traded Herron to the Raiders in a swap of 2024 late-round picks last September. The 27-year-old’s debut followed as an eligible tight end before he sustained a torn ACL in practice and was placed on injured reserve. Herron appeared in his first game of this campaign for Las Vegas last Monday night. The Wake Forest product had his draft card filled out by New England in the sixth round at No. 195 overall back in 2020. The swing tackle played in 28 games through his initial set of seasons, starting 10.

Sebastian Gutierrez, offensive tackle — Gutierrez, who rejoined the Las Vegas practice squad in September, previously joined midway through last season. He made his NFL debut as a standard elevation in December. Undrafted out of Minot State in 2022, Gutierrez entered the league with the Denver Broncos and was waived at the 53-man roster deadline. The 25-year-old former tight end went on to spend one week on the Patriots’ practice squad after visiting for a workout.

Adam Butler, defensive tackle — Entering the NFL as part of New England’s undrafted class of 2017, the Vanderbilt convert from the offensive line went on to check into 63 games. Butler started a dozen while with the Patriots, totaling 96 tackles, 15 sacks as well as nine batted passes. After playing on the restricted tender in 2020, the Super Bowl LIII champion reached a two-year deal with the Dolphins. He was released with the failed-physical designation during training camp in 2022 and spent last season out of football. The 29-year-old defensive tackle made his way back on a futures contract with the Raiders in January. Butler has played in every game since then to notch seven tackles, including one for loss.


Pharaoh Brown, tight end — The Oregon Duck signed his first contract with Oakland as an undrafted rookie in 2017. A promotion from the practice squad followed by December as Brown appeared in his first pair of games. He was released by the Raiders at the 53-man roster deadline the next summer. But the 29-year-old’s career has spanned 59 contests and 38 starts through stints with the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns. The Patriots signed the veteran blocking tight end to the practice squad and then the active roster last month after his release from the Colts. He has caught two passes for 71 yards and his third NFL touchdown since then while appearing in all five games and doubling as a fullback.

Trent Brown, offensive tackle — After being acquired from the 49ers, Brown started every matchup at left tackle from the opener through Super Bowl LIII for the 2018 Patriots. He then departed on a four-year deal with the Raiders in 2019. The 2015 seventh-round pick out of Florida earned Pro Bowl honors during his first season in Las Vegas. But Brown’s time in the AFC West ended after 16 starts and stints on injured reserve. The 30-year-old bookend was reacquired by New England in a 2021 exchange of picks in the fifth and seventh rounds. He re-signed last offseason and recently received a boost amid a contract year. Brown’s second act with the Patriots has included 45 starts.

Tyrone Wheatley Jr., offensive tackle — From Michigan to Stony Brook to Morgan State, Wheatley went undrafted in 2020. The college tight end then went to The Spring League, where he converted to tackle. An opportunity with the Chicago Bears followed. And then an opportunity with Las Vegas, who signed the son of the former Raiders running back in May 2022 and waived him after two preseason games. The 26-year-old Wheatley went on to log last campaign on the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad before being traded in exchange for running back Pierre Strong Jr. in August. He has since seen action in two games on special teams for New England.

Raekwon McMillan, linebacker — McMillan, who suffered a torn Achilles in May, recently signed his second contract extension with the Patriots while on injured reserve. He recorded 27 tackles, his first career sack and his first career touchdown on a fumble recovery last season. Originally chosen by the Dolphins in the second round of the 2017 draft out of Ohio State, McMillan went on to start 28 games before being traded to the Raiders in 2021. The 27-year-old linebacker saw 169 snaps on defense and 285 snaps on special teams during his lone season with Las Vegas, recording 27 tackles and one forced fumble.

Breon Borders, cornerback — The Patriots signed Borders to the practice squad in September. The 28-year-old Duke product entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Raiders in 2017. He began his rookie season on the practice squad in Oakland before leaving that December for a place on the Buffalo Bills’ active roster. Borders, whose career has gone on to span double-digit teams, stands 32 games in. The veteran cornerback has tallied six starts, seven pass deflections, one interception, one fumble recovery and 42 tackles along the way.

Azizi Hearn, cornerback — Last month, New England added Hearn to practice squad on the same day as Borders. The undrafted rookie entered the league with the Raiders in May. He was waived as part of the cutdown from 90 to 53 in August. Hearn finished his collegiate career at UCLA as a redshirt senior in 2022 after previous stops at Wyoming and Arizona. The 24-year-old corner appeared in a combined 50 games and finished with 146 tackles, 21 pass deflections and one fumble return for a touchdown.