Update 11/13/2023: What releasing CB Jack Jones, claiming RB JaMycal Hasty means for the Patriots
The New England Patriots did not take long to fill the open roster spot created by releasing cornerback Jack Jones: they claimed running back JaMycal Hasty off waivers on Monday to bring their roster back up to a maximum of 53 players.
Hasty, 27, brings some experience to the team’s backfield. What exactly does the move mean in the context of the other transaction on Monday? Let’s find out.
New England now has four-ish running backs on its roster: The Patriots’ running back position has been a two-man show so far this year, with Rhamondre Stevenson as the top option and Ezekiel Elliott a solid rotational piece alongside him. In addition to those two, the club also has Ty Montgomery on its roster as a receiving back/wide receiver hybrid; he has only seen spot duty on offense this year, however.
Hasty now adds another option to the roster, and presumably one capable of having a bigger impact on the offensive side of the ball than Montgomery. Frankly, though, less of an impact — Montgomery has touched the ball six times for 30 yards in 10 games — would probably not warrant a spot on the 53-man team.
The Patriots also have two running backs on their practice squad, by the way: Kevin Harris and Patrick Taylor, who have yet to appear in a game this year.
Hasty might help fill the receiving back role: Ever since James White announced his retirement last summer, the Patriots have not had a true pass-catching back on their roster. The 5-foot-8, 205-pound Hasty does not entirely fit that mold either, but he does offer some experience catching passes out of the backfield.
Between his stints in San Francisco and Jacksonville, the former undrafted rookie caught 52 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown. For comparison, he carried the football 105 times for 446 yards and four TDs in 44 total games.
At the very least, he has some change-of-pace capabilities to help spell Stevenson and Elliott.
New England adds an experienced special teamer: While he played only 14 kicking game snaps this year, Hasty has seen his fair share of action in the game’s third phase through the years. In total, he has 382 special teams snaps on his regular season and playoff résumé — including 19 that saw him return the ball on kickoffs (gaining 360 yards for an average of 18.9 yards in the process).
The Patriots end up with a net salary cap space loss of $62,223: The decision to release Jack Jones and claim JaMycal Hasty off waivers slightly decreased the Patriots’ cap space. While parting ways with Jones freed up $386,666, adding Hasty for the remainder of the season costs $448,889.
According to salary cap expert Miguel Benzan, the Patriots now have slightly over $2.01 million in cap space available.
New England might not be done making moves over the bye week: With offensive tackle Conor McDermott and linebacker Calvin Munson no longer eligible to be standard-elevated from the practice squad to the game day roster — both have been brought up a maximum three times — the Patriots might be inclined to create more spots on their 53-man team. With the bye week coming up, however, they have some time to do that if they want to.
Original story 11/13/2023: What releasing cornerback Jack Jones means for the Patriots
Fresh off their trip to Germany, the New England Patriots decided to part ways with a member of their cornerback group: second-year man Jack Jones is being waived, putting an end to a tumultuous tenure.
Jones joined the Patriots as a fourth-round draft pick last spring, and showed some flashes of promise since then. However, he also dealt with his fair share of off-field issues that have now reached a point where the team was no longer comfortable rostering him: the team wanted to see him respond from the latest issues during the trip to Germany to play the Indianapolis Colts, but he did not do that.
What does the decision to part ways with the 25-year-old mean from a big picture perspective, though? Let’s find out.
The Patriots’ gamble did not work out: When the Patriots invested the 144th overall selection in Jones last spring, they banked on his talent. For good reason: he had proven himself a high-upside defender between stints at USC and Arizona State.
So, why was he available this late in the first place? Those very same off-field questions.
He missed spring practices in 2018 due to academic reasons and was later arrested for allegedly breaking into a Panda Express. Jones eventually was ruled academically ineligible for the upcoming season, left USC, and served 45 days of house arrest for commercial burglary. After a stint at Moorpark College, he spent three years at ASU — playing good football but also missing time for an in-practice fight.
Upon arriving in New England, he failed to answer the questions about his maturity and demeanor away from the gridiron. Jones was suspended by the team to end his rookie campaign, dealt with gun charges this spring, and was benched the last two games after reportedly missing curfew at the team hotel in Week 9.
Add it all up, and it looks like the potential he showed no longer outweighed the headache he appears to have brought to the team.
New England’s cornerback depth chart takes another hit...: With Jones no longer part of the equation, the Patriots’ cornerback group is now down to seven players. The team has Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, Shaun Wade, Myles Bryant and Alex Austin on its active roster, with Breon Borders and Azizi Hearn offering developmental depth on the practice squad.
Of course, New England also is without three promising young cornerbacks for the remainder of the year: first-round draft pick Christian Gonzalez and sophomore cornerback Marcus Jones are both out for the season due to shoulder injuries, with rookie Isaiah Bolden on season-ending IR because of a concussion sustained in preseason.
The questions surrounding the group do not end there: J.C. Jackson, who was reacquired via trade in early October, was left in New England instead of joining his teammates on their trip to Germany last week. The belief is that he will be back after a “mental reset” but there are doubts about his own outlook as well.
...as does the 2022 draft class: Jones is the latest member of the Patriots’ 10-player draft class from a year ago to get shown the door. He is joining fellow former fourth-round draft pick Pierre Strong Jr. (traded to Cleveland) and sixth-round selection Chasen Hines (released) on the outs.
That leaves guard Cole Strange, wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, the aforementioned Marcus Jones, quarterback Bailey Zappe, running back Kevin Harris, defensive tackle Sam Roberts and offensive tackle Andrew Stueber to represent the 2022 class. Out of those seven, only Strange and Zappe saw action in the Week 10 game against the Colts.
A roster spot has opened up: Jones’ spot on the 53-man roster is now vacant, and the question becomes how the Patriots will fill it. They might look to add some outside talent, but there is also a chance one of offensive tackle Conor McDermott and linebacker Calvin Munson gets brought up from the practice squad: both have reached the maximum of three game day elevations, after all, meaning that they would need to be promoted to the active roster if the team wants to keep using them moving forward.
Releasing Jones creates some cap savings, for now: With Jones gone, his cap number for the 2023 season also will look different. After he was originally on the books with a cap hit of $934,519, that number has now decreased to $547,853.
Of course, the Patriots now will have to replace Jones’ spot on the roster. This, in turn, means that they will either have to sign somebody to their 53-man team from the outside, or promote a player from their practice squad. Regardless of what they will do, that addition will cut into the savings created by parting ways with Jones.