The New England Patriots are back down to just four cornerbacks, two of which were with the team in training camp.
Veteran Tarell Brown, who was signed by the Patriots prior to training camp, was placed on season-ending injured reserve Saturday, according to the NFL transaction wire. The Patriots filled his spot on the 53-man roster by promoting offensive tackle Cameron Fleming off the practice squad.
The Patriots now have just Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin on their cornerback depth chart. Coleman, an undrafted rookie, was signed off the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad on Sept. 9. Melvin was claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday.
Brown is the second Patriots veteran to hit injured reserve this week. They also placed starting left tackle Nate Solder on injured reserve Wednesday with a biceps ailment.
Brown suited up in all four games for the Patriots but played in just three, recording 15 tackles. Opposing quarterbacks completed seven passes on 14 targets against Brown for 70 yards.
Losing Brown increases the Patriots’ need for another cornerback. They also released veteran Bradley Fletcher last Saturday. Along with Brown and Fletcher, the Patriots also signed veteran cornerbacks Robert McClain, Derek Cox and Chimdi Chekwa, all of whom were cut, this offseason.
They also selected cornerback Darryl Roberts in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Roberts was placed on injured reserve with a wrist injury at the end of training camp. He’s now healthy and could be waived with an injury settlement and re-signed by the Patriots. That would be a risky move, however, because any other NFL team could claim him.
The Patriots trade more than any other NFL team, so they could try to pull the trigger on a cornerback before the trade deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 3. Teams typically trade players who are in the last year of their contracts. The Patriots have made deadline deals the past three seasons, acquiring linebacker Jonathan Casillas in 2014, defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga in 2013 and cornerback Aqib Talib in 2012.
I wrote just two weeks ago that the Patriots didn’t need to trade for a cornerback. That goes to show how quickly things can change in the NFL.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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