Patriots Roster Projection: Trade Complicates Predicting Offensive Line

Summer doesn’t signify beaches and barbecues for the New England Patriots. It heralds trades.

The Patriots have emerged as the kings of the preseason trade in recent years, and that’s truer now than ever before. The Patriots have made three trades this summer, the latest for former Detroit Lions tight end-turned-offensive tackle Michael Williams.

That deal throws a wrench in roster projections, since the Patriots typically like to carry two backup guards and two backup tackles. So now that Williams is on board, do they make a tough cut on their offensive line or elsewhere?

Check out NESN.com’s latest roster projection below, and remember the numbers don’t add up to 53 players because Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount begin the season with suspensions.

QUARTERBACK (3)
In: Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Lindley
Brady is set to begin the season with a four-game suspension, so unless a settlement can be reached or U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman sides with the NFL Players Association, the Patriots will need to carry three quarterbacks to begin the season. That Lindley hasn’t taken a snap in either preseason game might not be a great sign for the former Arizona Cardinal. The Patriots still could scour the waiver wire before Week 1 rolls around.

RUNNING BACK (6)
In: LeGarrette Blount, James White, Jonas Gray, Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, James Develin
Out: Tony Creecy, Travaris Cadet

Lewis’ impressive performance against the New Orleans Saints is enough to place him on the roster and Cadet off. Cadet will need to regain his health and find his way into a preseason game to help his case for a roster spot.

WIDE RECEIVER (6)
In: Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Reggie Wayne, Aaron Dobson, Matthew Slater
Out: Josh Boyce, Zach D’Orazio, Chris Harper, Jonathan Krause

Wayne’s signing was bad news for Harper. The undrafted rookie likely would need LaFell to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list in order to make the team.

TIGHT END (3)
In: Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, Michael Hoomanawanui
Out: Jake Bequette, Asante Cleveland, Jimmay Mundine

Mundine has had a solid summer, but it’s not enough to force Hoomanawanui off the roster yet.

OFFENSIVE LINE (10)
In: Nate Solder, Ryan Wendell, Bryan Stork, Tre’ Jackson, Sebastian Vollmer, Shaq Mason, Cameron Fleming, Marcus Cannon, Josh Kline, Michael Williams
Out: David Andrews, Mark Asper, Chris Barker, Ryan Groy, Caylin Hauptmann, Chris Martin

The Patriots typically only carry nine offensive linemen, but the Williams trade could persuade them to keep an extra player. The Patriots aren’t exactly in the business of giving away draft picks.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
In: Chandler Jones, Sealver Siliga, Alan Branch, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Malcom Brown, Dominique Easley, Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers
Out: Zach Moore, Antonio Johnson, Rufus Johnson, A.J. Pataiali’i, Joe Vellano, Casey Walker, Eric Martin, Dekoda Watson
PUP: Chris Jones
It was difficult to take Moore off the roster, but he might benefit from a year on the practice squad while he gains playing strength to play defensive tackle.

LINEBACKER (5)
In: Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo, Jamie Collins, Jonathan Freeny, James Morris
Out: Xzavier Dickson, Darius Fleming, Cameron Gordon, Brandon King, D.J. Lynch

PUP: Dane Fletcher
Fleming had an impressive second preseason game, but after the Patriots suffered injuries last season, they traded for two linebackers rather than electing to give him a bigger role.

CORNERBACK (5)
In: Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Tarell Brown, Robert McClain, Bradley Fletcher
Out: Jimmy Jean, Daxton Swanson
Injured reserive: Darryl Roberts
Roberts suffered a wrist or hand injury that reportedly could knock him out for the season.

SAFETY (5)
In: Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards, Nate Ebner
Out: Tavon Wilson
Since the Patriots are carrying 10 offensive linemen in this projection, a player has to go, and in this scenario, it’s Wilson. He had a nice training camp, but Harmon and Richards have the versatility to fill Wilson’s old role.

SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
In: Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen, Joe Cardona
There’s no competition at any of the Patriots’ special teams roles.

Last three in: Michael Williams, Dion Lewis, Nate Ebner
Last three out: Tavon Wilson, Travaris Cadet, Zach Moore

Practice squad: WR Chris Harper, TE Jimmay Mundine, OL David Andrews, OL Ryan Groy, DL Rufus Johnson, DL Eric Martin, DL Zach Moore, LB Darius Fleming, LB Brandon King, CB Daxton Swanson

Thumbnail photo via Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Detroit Lions tackle Michael Williams (73) during OTA at Detroit Lions Training Facility.

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