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In wake of final cuts, 10 thoughts about state of Patriots roster

08.30.14 at 10:10 pm ET
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Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett will both open the season on the roster. (Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallett will both open the season on the roster. (Getty Images)

1. As it stands right now, the Patriots will be keeping a trio of quarterbacks for the first time since 2011, as Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett and Jimmy Garoppolo will head into the season as New England’€™s signal-callers. Garoppolo performed well against New York’€™s second- and third-teamers in the preseason finale, but from this viewpoint, Mallett is still the best bet as the No. 2 quarterback.

2. There’€™s always some movement between the cuts and start of the regular season, but as it stands right now, the Patriots appear to have left themselves a little thin at linebacker, with only youngster Chris White and Darius Fleming (who missed the last two seasons with knee issues) as the backups to starters Dont’€™a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Jerod Mayo. With the release of veteran James Anderson, the thinking was that the team wanted to get younger at the spot and also bring in someone who could has some special teams value. But that theory went out the window when the team waived Steve Beauharnais, a seventh-rounder last year who had both of those attributes. Maybe Beauharnais returns after Week 1, maybe the Patriots have their eye on someone else. But at this point, you have to figure they’€™re keeping their collective fingers crossed when it comes to their linebackers staying healthy.

3. The curious decision to cut long snapper Danny Aiken — and not immediately add another body — leaves the Patriots without a long snapper at the moment. From our perspective, it appeared that Aiken had a good spring and summer, and was a slam-dunk to make the final roster. But his release means that Rob Ninkovich (who was originally signed as a free agent backup linebacker and long snapper in the summer of 2009) is the lone long snapper on the roster. The Patriots might be inclined to try and press one of the three centers on the roster (Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly or Bryan Stork) into service as an emergency long snapper.

4. In other special teams news, the Patriots cut two players who might have figured into the kick return battle in Josh Boyce and Roy Finch. As a result — and based on what we’€™ve seen this spring and summer — the safe bet is that New England turns to some combination of rookie James White, veteran running back Shane Vereen and special teamer Matthew Slater. But as we stated here, it looks like it’€™s going to be another season of shared responsibilities when it comes to kick returning work.

5. The release of Boyce brings a year-plus odyssey for the wide receiver to an end in New England. The TCU product struggled to click as a part of the offense, and appeared at times to be the odd man out over the course of the spring and summer workouts. A workout warrior — he posted some of the most amazing numbers in the recent history of the combine back in 2013 — he finished last year with nine catches. His finest moment came when he snapped off the ankles of Cleveland defensive back Buster Skrine in a game last year. The Patriots would probably like to get him through to the practice squad, but given his impressive physical skills, it’€™s unlikely he gets through the waiver process.
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With cuts complete, Patriots 53-man roster takes shape

08.30.14 at 4:54 pm ET
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Following the Saturday cuts, here’s a look at the Patriots’ 53-man roster. It’s important to note that there are still plenty of moves coming — last year, there were 15 roster moves between the final cuts and the start of the regular season, and that doesn’t count the practice squad transactions — those will come on Sunday.

OFFENSE: 26

Quarterback (3): Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garoppolo
Offensive line (10): Ryan Wendell, Chris Barker, Bryan Stork, Dan Connolly, Josh Kline, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Jordan Devey, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming
Tight ends (4): Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Tim Wright, James Develin
Running backs (4): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, James White, Brandon Bolden
Wide receivers (5): Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson (Brian Tyms starts the year on the reserve/suspended list and does not count toward the final 53-man roster, at least for the first four weeks.)

DEFENSE: 24

Defensive line (9): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Vince Wilfork, Dominique Easley, Michael Buchanan, Joe Vellano, Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, Zach Moore
Linebackers (5): Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins, Dont’€™€™a Hightower, Darius Fleming, Chris White
Cornerbacks (5): Darrelle Revis, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler (Brandon Browner starts the year on the reserve/suspended list and does not count toward the final 53-man roster, at least for the first four weeks.)
Safeties (5): Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner, Tavon Wilson, Patrick Chung

SPECIAL TEAMS: 3

Special teamers (3): Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Matthew Slater.

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Patriots make cutdown moves official

08.30.14 at 4:46 pm ET
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The Patriots announced the following moves Saturday afternoon. Here’s a portion of the press release on the transactions:

The Patriots released six veteran players: long snapper Danny Aiken, linebacker Steve Beauharnais, defensive lineman Jake Bequette, wide receiver Josh Boyce, tight end Steve Maneri and defensive lineman Jerel Worthy.

The Patriots released five first-year players: offensive lineman Braxston Cave, linebacker Ja’€™Gared Davis, safety Kanorris Davis, running back Jonas Gray and efensive back Daxton Swanson.

The Patriots released two draft picks: offensive lineman Jon Halapio and wide receiver Jeremy Gallon.

The Patriots released six rookie free agents: running back Roy Finch, safety Shamiel Gary, defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna, offensive lineman Chris Martin, linebacker Taylor McCuller and defensive lineman L.T. Tuipulotu.

In addition, rookie linebacker James Morris was placed on injured reserve.
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DE Michael Sam released by Rams

08.30.14 at 4:29 pm ET
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The Rams released defensive end Michael Sam Saturday afternoon as part of their final cuts to get to the league-mandated 53-man roster.

Sam, the 249th overall pick in this year’s draft, was attempting to become the first openly gay player in NFL history, but he was beaten out by Ethan Westbrooks for the final defensive end spot. However, it’s worth noting that Sam still has practice squad eligibility — once he clears waivers on Sunday at noon, could be signed by the Rams as one of 10 players allowed on the practice squad.

Sam had 11 tackles and three sacks over the course of the preseason. In Thursday night’s contest against the Dolphins, Sam ended with a team-high six tackles.

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With few hours remaining, Patriots nearing 53-man roster limit

08.30.14 at 2:00 pm ET
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There are a couple of hours between now and the 4 p.m. deadline to get to 53 players, but the Patriots look like they’re getting close to the magic number. Things can still change between now and the deadline, but at this point, they have 54 players in the mix.

OFFENSE: 26
Quarterback (3): Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Jimmy Garoppolo

Offensive line (10): Ryan Wendell, Chris Barker, Bryan Stork, Dan Connolly, Josh Kline, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Jordan Devey, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming

Tight ends (4): Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Tim Wright, James Develin

Running backs (4): Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, James White, Brandon Bolden

Wide receivers (5): Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson (Brian Tyms starts the year on the reserve/suspended list and does not count toward the final 53-man roster, at least for the first four weeks.)

DEFENSE: 24
Defensive line (9): Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Vince Wilfork, Dominique Easley, Michael Buchanan, Joe Vellano, Sealver Siliga, Chris Jones, Zach Moore

Linebackers (5): Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins, Dont’€™a Hightower, Darius Fleming, Chris White

Cornerbacks (5): Darrelle Revis, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler (Brandon Browner starts the year on the reserve/suspended list and does not count toward the final 53-man roster, at least for the first four weeks.)

Safeties (5): Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Nate Ebner, Tavon Wilson, Patrick Chung

SPECIAL TEAMS: 4
Special teamers (4): Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Danny Aiken, Matthew Slater.

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Patriots reportedly release RB Roy Finch, DB Kanorris Davis, LB James Morris

08.30.14 at 1:21 pm ET
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Roy Finch

Roy Finch

Running back Roy Finch, defensive back Kanorris Davis and linebacker James Morris have all reportedly been released by the Patriots.

The 22-year-old Finch, signed as a rookie free agent in May, played in 47 games with 10 starts for Oklahoma, finishing his career with 262 rushing attempts for 1,412 yards and eight touchdowns. The 5-foot-7, 167-pounder also added 58 receptions for 442 yards and two touchdowns and returned 47 kicks for 1,099 yards with one touchdown. Last season, he played in 13 games with two starts and finished with 59 rushing attempts for 347 yards and caught 12 passes for 91 yards. Per a league source, the hope is to get Finch through to the practice squad, but after a promising summer, that could be a challenge.

Davis, 24, has bounced between the active roster and the practice squad over the course of the last season. The 5-foot-10, 207-pounder originally joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Troy on May 3, 2013, but was released on Aug. 31 and was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 1. Known more as a special teamer, he was activated to the 53-man roster late last season, and finished last season with one tackle in three games.

Morris is a rookie free agent out of Iowa who was signed and released in May, but later re-signed with the team over the summer. The 22-year-old was just the sixth player in Iowa history to record 400 career tackles after finishing with 400 tackles, 10½ sacks and six interceptions as a three-year starter. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder was named a team captain in 2013 and started in all 13 games and finished second on the team with 107 total tackles, eight sacks and four interceptions. His departure leaves the Patriots curiously thin at linebacker — at this point, with today’s transactions, Chris White is the only backup linebacker on the roster.

The Patriots need to be down to 53 players by the league-mandated deadline of 4 p.m. Saturday.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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Agent: Patriots release DL Eathyn Manumaleuna

08.30.14 at 12:55 pm ET
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The Patriots released defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna, according to his agent David Canter.

Signed as a rookie free agent last month, Manumaleuna, was originally inked by the New York Giants as a rookie free agent out of Brigham Young on May 12. The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder, was released by the Giants on June 19. He played as a true freshman for BYU in 2007 and then served a two-year mission. He returned to the starting lineup in 2010. After suffering an injury early in the year as senior in 2010, Manumaleuna was granted a medical redshirt year after suffering an injury early in the year as a senior in 2012 and came back to start all 13 games in 2013. He finished his college career playing in 56 games and finishing with 143 total tackles and 5.5 sacks.

The Patriots need to be down to 53 players by the league-mandated deadline of 4 p.m. Saturday.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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