New England Patriots: Former players now in CFL

Photo Credit: Fanatics
Photo Credit: Fanatics /

Where do the plethora of players that come through New England each year go to when they leave? We hear about a guy being signed on the Practice Squad or signed to the active roster but an alternative move must take place. Some players last their full careers with the Patriots, others a season, quite a few last only a couple of weeks or a few days.

So where do the players go when they leave? Of course some re-sign with another team, others fall out of the league entirely. Then there are those who pursue their football career into other leagues. The list below consists of the players that have come through New England and are currently on the roster of CFL teams.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson – QB – 2014 – Toronto Argonauts

Looking at his college statistics, it’s a wonder Bethel-Thompson made it to the NFL at all. Eight touchdowns and thirteen interceptions for UCLA and Sacramento are hardly NFL pedigree. He bounced around the NFL, Arena League and the UFL before landing on the Patriots Practice Squad in 2014. It was a short stint that only lasted ten days. With the Patriots drafting Jimmy Garoppolo in the same season, Bethel-Thompson stood little chance of making any impact in New England. In 2016 he made the move to the CFL first signing with Winnipeg and later with his current team the Argonauts.

DaVaris Daniels – WR – 2015 – Calgary Stampeders

The Notre Dame alum went undrafted in 2015 and signed initially with the Vikings. He was cut later that offseason and signed with the Patriots but his stay only lasted three days. He failed to catch on with another team in the NFL for that season and signed for the Calgary Stampeders in 2016. In his first year he had an outstanding campaign catching 51 passes for 885 yards with 9 touchdowns. This led to him being named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie Award. If his performances continue there is a chance he could find his way back to the NFL as he is still only 24.

Ja’Gared Davis – LB – 2013-14 – Calgary Stampeders

A more familiar name to some on this list, Davis spent the 2013-2014 seasons alternating between the active and Practice roster for the Patriots. A surprise release from the team in 2014 due to his decent play on Special teams, he was quickly snapped up by the Chiefs. In 2016 he signed with Calgary and has made the move from Linebacker to Defensive End.

Derek Dennis – OL – 2012 – Saskatchewan Roughriders

Dennis is big-bodied Guard who the Patriots signed in 2012 after he was cut by the Dolphins as featured on that seasons’ “Hard Knocks”.   He spent almost a month with the team before being released as a result of the final training camp cuts. He later signed with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena League, the Bears and the Panthers, failing to appear in an NFL game. Signing with Calgary in 2015, he won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award and was named an All-Star in 2016. He will play this season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.


Tommie Draheim – C – 2012 – Ottawa Redblacks

Draheim’s stay with the Patriots was another short one. Signing for only a week back in 2012, the Centre was part of the offseason rosters for the Jaguars, Chiefs and Cardinals after his New England release. He was part of the Ottawa Redblacks Grey Cup winning team in 2016.

Roy Finch – RB – 2014 – Calgary Stampeders

The diminutive Running-Back out of Oklahoma always was fighting a losing battle to make an NFL roster. At 5’7 but only 167lbs he was very undersized for an NFL back. He was a change of pace rather than an every-down back that was elusive in the open field, ( Now with Calgary his versatility is key to keeping his football career alive. He is currently playing as a Half-Back, Wider Receiver, Kick/Punt Returner and Special Teams Gunner. Finch is living proof that there is a position in football for guys of any size.

Travis Hawkins – DB – 2014 – Montreal Alouettes

The former Delaware and Maryland player signed with the Patriots after going undrafted in 2014. He spent the offseason there but was cut before the start of the season. Hawkins moved to the CFL in 2015 with Toronto. He is currently on dual assignment with the CFL and the Arena League with the Baltimore Brigade playing alongside fellow former Patriot Alfonzo Dennard.

Ryan Lindley – QB – 2015 – Ottawa Redblacks

Drafted in the 6th round by the Cardinals, Lindley has had an interesting footballing career. Despite posting some awful statistics in his first two seasons (0 TD’s, 7 Interceptions) he managed to play in a playoff game for the Cardinals after Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton were injured. He had a terrible game with a passer rating of 44.3 and a record low in total offensive yards (77) for a playoff game. He was released after that season and signed with the Patriots for just under a month before the season opener. After a year out of football he signed with Ottawa for the 2017 season.


Eric Martin – LB – 2014-15 – Toronto Argonauts

If you look at the players that have Superbowl rings still playing but not in the NFL the number is quite surprising. Last season there were 13 former Superbowl winners playing in the CFL alone. Eric Martin was one of them. Undrafted by the Saints, he spent time with the Browns before signing with the Patriots where he spent time on and off the active roster over the course of 2 seasons. Despite getting some decent game time and still being relatively young (25) he was unable to find another NFL team, signing with Toronto in 2016.

Nick Moore – WR – 2009 – BC Lions

Moore spent little time with the Patriots in 2009 and was released shortly after the Patriots played the Ravens in the playoffs. After a brief spell in the UFL, he signed with the BC Lions in the CFL where his career saw an upward turn. In 2013 he had the 3rd highest receiving yards and was the top CFL free agent going into 2014. At the age of 31 he is still one of the top receivers in the CFL for the BC Lions.

Taylor Reed – LB – 2013-14 – Ottawa Redblacks

From looking at the two seasons Reed was with the Patriots, you could be forgiven for not remembering him. The fact is, he was signed to the Practice Squad at the end of the 2013 season and released in March of the 2014 season. Having previously spent time with the Cowboys, he moved onto the CFL with the Tiger-Cats, Stampeders and then won the Grey Cup in 2016 with the Redblacks.

Jalen Saunders – WR – 2015 – Hamilton Tiger Cats

The former 4th round pick for the Jets was used primarily as a return man but offered little in the way of receiving ability at the NFL level and was released in his rookie year. Over the course of the next season and a half he was signed to five different teams. The Patriots traded a conditional pick to the Saints to acquire him in 2015 but he was released 5 days later. A violation of the NFL substance abuse policy effectively put an end to his tenuous career receiving a 10-game ban. Since signing with the Tiger-Cats he looks to have found his level and is making himself an integral part of the receiving core.

Brian Simmons – OL – 2010 – Montreal Alouettes

Simmons was signed by the Patriots in 2010 after going undrafted. He didn’t stay long in New England and quickly moved onto the CFL where he has spent the last six seasons. He won the Grey Cup with Edmonton in 2015 and now turns out for the Alouettes.

Alex Singleton – LB – 2015 – Calgary Stampeders

Singleton was another player on this lost that fell victim to the Patriots turnover of the Practice Squad. A ten-day visit in 2015 is all he was afforded. After that he declared for the CFL draft where he was picked in the first round. Singleton’s career has taken off since and is a big contributor on both Defence and Special Teams.

Brian Tyms – WR – 2014-15 – Hamilton Tiger Cats

Tyms became a bit of a cult hero in New England during his brief stay with the Patriots. The fans were becoming frustrated with the lack of a deep threat at Wide Receiver and thought Tyms could be the man. He had been productive in the preseason adding further fuel to the fire. Once the regular season hit, he was given limited opportunity as he was bottom of the depth chart. He was released at the end of the 2015 season and went to the Colts for their 2016 offseason program. He signed with Hamilton in the CFL towards the end of 2016. Tyms is the second Patriots Superbowl Champion currently playing in the CFL.


Tiquan Underwood – WR – 2011 – Montreal Alouettes

Underwood is infamous in New England Patriots lore as the guy that was cut the night before the 2011 Superbowl loss against the Giants. The transaction was made so the Patriots could add depth to another position. In the two years following, Underwood played with the Buccaneers where he averaged 860 yards and 6 Touchdowns. After nearly a year out of the NFL, he made the trip north and signed with Hamilton and later to Montreal.