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Possible Cuts for the Patriots (The Final 53)?

There are few worse feelings for an NFL player than being cut from their team. They could lose millions in salary, adjust to a new environment, or force a premature end to their career. Unfortunately, players from undrafted rookies to Hall of Famers have experienced this often traumatic feeling.



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Shocking NFL Training Camp Cuts

Types of Players Who May Be Cut

Players that are not deemed to be worth their current salary and their contracts are not fully guaranteed so they can reduce their cap hit.

Veterans who are on the decline are not likely to be able to contribute anymore, and undrafted free agents who don’t make the final roster. Late-round draft picks who have an awful preseason.

Training Camp bodies who have no real chance to make the team are there so teams can run more drills (and because they can have more players).

Players who are unlucky enough to play at a position where they have excess players. Veteran QBs who lose training camp battles (Cam Newton last season is a good example). Kicker or punter who loses a position battle (Nick Folk the previous year before he was re-signed).

Salary Cap Savings

The cap is a common reason for veteran players to be cut. This would save the team some (but not all) of cap space allocated to that player (some of this will be “dead money”). The savings are the largest when a team has already paid a player the minimum guaranteed money in his contract in prior seasons.

For example, if a player signed a five-year 70 million dollar contract with 45 million guaranteed and were cut after four years, he would have received 56 million, and there would likely be no dead money.

NFL Roster Construction

NFL teams can have 53 players on their roster to start the regular season (down from 90 in camp), and they typically have a similar breakdown in terms of how many players from each position are on the roster.

A sample position breakdown Offense: Quarterback: Three, Running Back: Four, Wide Receiver: Six, Tight End: Three, Offensive Linemen: Eight.

Defense: Defensive Linemen: Eight, Linebackers: Eight, Cornerbacks: Six, Safeties: Four.

Special Teams: Kicker: One, Punter: One, Long Snapper: One

Offensive Cut Candidates

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Training Camp will cause many players to be cut

I will stick to players who were 2021 Patriots, free agent signings who have played in a game last season, and 2022 draft picks.

Quarterback: None. Mac Jones will start, Brian Hoyer will be the backup, and rookie Brady Zappe will be the third-stringer.

Running Backs: Kevin Harris, J.J. Taylor, and James White. Kevin Harris is a sixth-round draft pick this season out of South Carolina who could be a candidate to end up on the practice squad rather than be cut outright if he does not do well in camp.

J.J. Taylor likely needs a solid camp and preseason performances to make the team heading into his third season. Unfortunately, he only has 42 attempts for 147 yards in two seasons, and his second season was even worse as he had just 19 carries for 37 yards which is under Two Yards, Per Carry.

James White is a long-time Patriot and Super Bowl LI hero who may be a surprise cut to many fans. Still, I feel that it is possible as he is now heading into his thirties with just 45 carries for 149 yards in the past two seasons, and he is coming off a significant hip injury that cost him the last 14 games last year.

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James White is a Super Bowl hero, but could he be out in New England?

Wide Receiver: Kristian Wilkerson and N’Keal Harry

Kristian Wilkerson is playing for his job this preseason as he was only active for three games last year after being active for just one during his rookie season. The only four catches in his career came in Week 17 this year against Jacksonville (but he did score two TDs that day).

N’Keal Harry was our 2019 first-round pick out of Arizona State, and while he has shown flashes. Ultimately he has been disappointing overall and has been primarily a backup receiver with just 12 catches for 184 yards in 12 games (four starts) last season. I don’t think he will be cut, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he was.

Tight End: Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi

Dalton Keene was a 2020 third-round pick out of Virginia Tech, but a knee injury cost him the end of the 2020 season and all of the 2021 season. He may be cut if he can’t show he is healthy.

Devin Asiasi is another 2020 third-round pick who has not gotten going in a Patriots uniform, and he has just two catches for 39 yards in ten games over two seasons. He may be cut to save a roster spot as we would only have 446K in dead money for this season.

Offensive Line: Yasir Durant, James Ferentz, and Justin Herron

Justin Herron had a PFF grade of 61.7 last season in his third NFL season, which was 66th out of 84 tackles. He could be cut if the Patriots decide to go with just three OTs. Yasir Durant had an inferior PFF grade of just 59.4 and could be cut if the Patriots go with three guards. He would have no dead money as well.

James Ferentz has a horrific season with a PFF grade of just 48.4 and is 33 years old. The writing is on the wall, which is almost certainly the end of the road for him.

Defensive Cut Candidates

Defensive Line: Daniel Ekuale, Carl Davis, Brian Cowart, Sam Roberts, and Henry Anderson

Daniel Ekuale had 99 snaps last season, so even though he had two sacks in that limited duty, he may be on his way out due to his limited upside at age 28. Carl Davis could be cut due to being 30 years old, even though it would be a harsh cut. His PFF grade was just 30.8 despite having a sack and nineteen tackles while playing only a quarter of defensive snaps.

Brian Cowart missed the entire 2021 season with injury while only playing 46 snaps in five games last season. He likely needs to prove he is healthy and has an excellent camp to make the team. Sam Roberts was a sixth-round draft pick this season out of Missouri State, and while I do not believe he will be cut, we have seen late-round picks cut before.

Henry Anderson is 30 years old and coming off a torn pec which cost him the last 13 games of last season and if he does not have a strong preseason it could be the end of his time in New England and perhaps his career.

Linebacker: Harvey Langi

Harvey Langi played just 16 snaps last season and could be on his way out the door (which would likely benefit him) as he would certainly be picked up by someone else and had 60 tackles for the Jets in 2020.

Cornerback: Jonathan Jones, Justin Bethel, Joejuan Williams, and Shaun Wade

Jonathan Jones could be a surprising cut despite him being a solid contributor for several years. He missed most of the season last year with a shoulder injury and we would save five million in cap space by cutting him (could this be spent on a certain free agent receiver named Odell?).

Justin Bethel is an 11-year vet who played primarily on special teams last season playing just 41 defensive snaps despite suiting up in all 17 games. The Pats may opt to go with a younger option as he is 31 now.

Joejuan Williams was a second-round pick in 2019 out of Vanderbilt and it is unlikely he will be cut but he may be a surprise cut as we have eight corners with a shot to make the roster.

Shaun Wade was a rarely used fifth-round pick out of Ohio State last season but only saw 12 snaps last year. If he has a poor preseason he may be cut although it is unlikely

Safety: Joshuah Bledsoe

Joshuah Bledsoe did not play in his rookie season due to multiple injuries and as a sixth-round pick if he can’t impress in camp he may be done in New England

Special Teams Cut Candidates

Kicker: Quinn Nordin

Quinn Nordin was actually active in five games last season without kicking a field goal as the Patriots surprisingly decided to carry two kickers at times last season so he could be a backup to last year’s NFL scoring leader Nick Folk.

Punter: Jake Bailey

Jake Bailey made the Pro Bowl in 2020 and was very good last season as well but New England did bring in Jake Julien and just the fact that the Patriots brought in another punter means he belongs on the list even if there is very little chance he will be cut.

Long Snapper: None

Joe Cardona is the long snapper in New England.

Other Stories to Read

Check out my other article on Cole Strange here

Check out our other articles @ The Gillette Gazette

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