Bill Belichick Explains Patriots’ Decision To Sign Ex-Jets To Practice Squad


FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots signed two former New York Jets three days before the two teams face off. That had some fans crying shenanigans.

But there was a lot more that went into the decisions to sign tight end Will Tye and linebacker Trevor Reilly than just gaining intel on a divisional rival.

Tye was a two-year starter for the New York Giants before he was waived, claimed by the Jets and waived again.

“He’s played, been a roster player,” Belichick said Friday. “We’ll work with him, see how it goes. …

“Those guys have more experience than some of the other players have on our practice squad who have really never been in a regular season game. Trevor’s in that category too. Geneo (Grissom) was in that category from earlier in the year. So, I think those guys are a little more experienced, have a little more game experience.

“How that all transfers, again, every position on the team is a little bit different. That can change in a hurry. A lot of the practice squad is depth for going forward. I don’t really know what going forward is, so you just try to prepare your team and have as much depth as you can at as many positions as you can.”

The Patriots had Reilly on their practice squad last season, but the Miami Dolphins signed him away. Reilly played two games for the Dolphins then spent the entire offseason and preseason in Miami. He was released from the Dolphins’ practice squad on Oct. 10 and signed by the Patriots two days later.

“We were never looking to move on from him in the first place, but he had a better opportunity and was able to play down there,” Belichick said. “We played against him, he played well against us. So, it’s good to have him back.”

Another practice squad player worth discussing is cornerback Ryan Lewis. The Patriots are paying Lewis an active roster salary rather than practice-squad money, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported this week. He’s earning $465,000 this season. The minimum practice squad salary is $122,240.

So, what stands out to Belichick about Lewis.

“Yeah, size and speed,” Belichick said. “I mean, he’s — you know, we’ll see how it goes. He hasn’t played in — we’re not going to know how he plays until he plays, but obviously the guys we have here, we want to work with. As long as they keep working hard and improving and we don’t get in a situation that overrides a normal practice squad situation, like a lot of injuries at a particular position where we have to go get somebody and somebody has to drop off, then we want to keep working with the players that we have.”

Lewis’ father, Will, played cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks in the 1980s then went on to work in the front offices of the Green Bay Packers, Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs.

Lewis is 6 feet, 200 pounds and ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash with a 6.87-second 3-cone drill.

Thumbnail photo via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports Images

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
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