The New England Patriots have set their initial 53-man roster, but it is far from set in stone.
Over 1,000 NFL players were released over the past week, and the Patriots will cull through the waiver wire to see if they like any available players more than their own. Players cut this weekend will clear waivers Sunday at noon.
The Patriots’ biggest areas of need are wide receiver, where they have just four players, and offensive tackle, where LaAdrian Waddle and Cameron Fleming are the top reserves behind Nate Solder, who was banged up Thursday in the final preseason game against the New York Giants, and Marcus Cannon, who will fill in for PUP/reserve-bound Sebastian Vollmer.
The Patriots also could look at available running backs to see if any options are better than undrafted free agent D.J. Foster, who made the initial 53-man roster based on two strong games to end to the preseason. Veterans like Bishop Sankey, Ronnie Hillman and Justin Forsett are available after cuts. Wide receivers Daneil Braverman and Cecil Shorts could be of interest to the Patriots, as well.
Because New England could still add players off waivers, certain Patriots shouldn’t rush to buy any property in the Foxboro, Mass., area.
Foster has Patriots fans excited, but he could still be on the bubble because of his inexperience.
The Patriots typically don’t keep 10 offensive linemen, so Waddle, Fleming or rookie guard Ted Karras could still be moved, especially if the Patriots add another offensive tackle this weekend. Guards Shaq Mason and Jonathan Cooper currently are banged up. When they regain their health, an extra guard is unnecessary.
Tight end Clay Harbor, linebacker Elandon Roberts, a 2016 seventh-round pick, and undrafted rookie cornerback Jonathan Jones also were thought to be on the bubble prior to Saturday. They still could be moved to open space on the roster.
The Patriots also must field a 10-man practice squad. Among players cut, running back Tyler Gaffney, pass rushers Geneo Grissom and Rufus Johnson, cornerbacks Cre’Von LeBlanc and Darryl Roberts, guard Chris Barker, wide receivers DeAndre Carter and Devin Lucien, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill and tight end Bryce Williams would make up an ideal practice squad. Players can begin signing to the practice squad Sunday at noon when waivers clear.
Linebacker Kevin Snyder is headed to injured reserve as long as he clears waivers.
Gaffney, Grissom, Johnson, LeBlanc, Roberts and Grugier-Hill could draw the most interest from other teams on waivers. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, who is not practice squad eligible, also must pass through waivers.
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