We knew that the New England Patriots were going to release wide receiver Jeremy Ebert, thanks to a report from Mike Reiss, and now the Patriots have announced the other players on the chopping block. After the conclusion of another draft and the addition of several undrafted free agents, the Pats had to make some cuts and the majority of these players are likely gone for good. The Pats announced that defensive back Malcolm Williams, fullback Tony Fiammetta, defensive lineman Tracy Robertson, and tight end Brad Herman were all placed on the chopping block.
The best player of those four is Fiammetta, who was a great lead-blocking fullback for the Dallas Cowboys. He was supposed to be the Pats next starting fullback in 2012, but he spent the entire year on the reserve/left squad list before finally being activated early this offseason. Fiammetta, however, really had no place on the team, and that’s because the Patriots are probably moving on from the fullback position. If they aren’t, then they are content with James Develin, who has excellent work ethic and is a fringe-roster, practice squad guy. The Pats have no use for a true fullback in their offense, and they will only use an FB occasionally in Develin (at least, that’s my thinking right now). Investing in Fiammetta wasn’t something the Pats wanted to do.
Roster spots are valuable commodities and clearly limited commodities. You would think that 53 spots is a lot to fill, but it’s so hard to find ways to stash everybody on the roster. The release of tight end Brad Herman is clearly the least surprising cut, because he might be the worst player of the four and comes at a position of huge depth. Herman was an undrafted free agent last season but missed his rookie year with an Achilles’ injury. This year’s UDFA TE Zach Sudfield is a high-upside, project player likely slated for the practice squad to watch for.
Tracy Robertson was signed to the practice squad late last season, but the Pats likely didn’t like what they saw out of him- I didn’t either. The Pats have plenty of depth on the defensive line now, anyway, after the moves they made in the draft.
Malcolm Williams played the biggest role for the New England Patriots, but the additions of Rutgers DBs Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan made the defensive backfield a lot more crowded. Williams provided quality depth at any spot in the defensive backfield, but he never had a shot at making the final roster and doesn’t have enough upside to warrant a spot on the practice squad. However, Williams will be able to latch onto a spot somewhere else.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.