Yesterday the Patriots, along with 31 other NFL teams, made their “final” roster cut-downs to get to the magical number of 53. To say that the roster is “set” for the year would be a pretty big stretch though. There are now hundreds of players that were waived by other teams that the Patriots can parse through and find some potential help. There’s also the very distinct possibility of more trades to come. Last year, Richard Seymour was traded after the final roster cut-down. In the unlikely case that this (click here for the current roster) is the roster of players the Pats use to face the Bengals Week One, we know for certain that there will be one more move after that game.
T/G Quinn Ojinnaka, who the Patriots traded for during training camp, is currently on the roster but does not count against the 53-player limit due to a suspension he will serve Week One. After Week One, the Patriots have to make a decision: simply release Ojinnaka, release another player from the roster, or place Nick Kaczur on IR. In the hustle and bustle yesterday, a major news piece kind of slipped through the cracks: Kaczur is still on the active roster despite missing most of training camp and all of the preseason due to a back injury that required surgery. By not placing Kaczur on IR, the Patriots must have some hope that he can return this season. Perhaps the back surgery went better than expected and the pain is dissipating. Or, they could be simply be waiting one more week to see how he feels before placing him on IR while Ojinnaka serves his suspension. If Kaczur can return this season, he will bolster the strength of the offensive line, turning current starter Dan Connolly into an extremely capable back-up. Most in Patriot Nation were surprised with the high level of play from Connolly this preseason, so relegating him to a back-up role would make a currently shaky depth situation at o-line less of a concern.
But what about all of those recently-released players now looking for work? Some will be signed to teams’ practice squads, which they can do later today after players clear waivers. Others could find work on active rosters on other teams. There were some names that jumped out to me as possible contributors to this Patriots squad. To say that you can find a surefire starter in the bunch would be a slight stretch, but you can definitely bolster depth at weak positions. The Patriots could still use some help at offensive line, outside linebacker, and corner, though the secondary as a whole was bolstered some with the trade for Chiefs S Jarrad Page. You can parse through the list yourself, but here are some names that I feel could help bolster the Patriots, including the team they were released from:
- LB Cody Brown (Arizona)
- DE Jarvis Green (Denver)
- CB Dre Bly (Detroit)
- CB Jacques Reeves (Houston)
- DL Jay Alford (New York Giants)
- LB Ricky Foley (New York Jets) – The Pats reportedly put a claim in for him when he was released earlier this summer.
- C Justin Hartwig (Pittsburgh)
- LB Bobby Carpenter (St. Louis)
- CB Nathan Vasher (San Diego)