It went under the radar following the Patriots’ Super Bowl LII loss and prior to Josh McDaniels eschewing the Indianapolis Colts, but New England re-signed all 10 of their practice squad players Tuesday afternoon.
The Patriots signed wide receivers Cody Hollister and Riley McCarron, tight end Will Tye, offensive linemen James Ferentz and Jason King, linebacker Trevor Reilly, cornerbacks Ryan Lewis and Jomal Wiltz and safeties David Jones and Damarius Travis.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that at least one of these players will make an impact in 2018. Notable names of the past such as BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NESN’s own Matt Chatham, Stephen Neal, Ray Ventrone, Eric Alexander, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Tom Ashworth and Russ Hochstein spent time on the Patriots’ practice squad before becoming contributors.
Players who spent time on the Patriots’ practice squad also have made an impact on other teams like Mike Hilton, Andre Holmes, Rashaan Melvin and Sergio Brown.
Current Patriots Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, James Develin, Cameron Fleming, Geneo Grissom, Eric Lee, Lawrence Guy, Nicholas Grigsby, James Harrison and Ted Karras all have spent time on practice squads.
So, who among the 10 players New England signed Tuesday could make an impact?
Let’s start with Lewis, who was named Patriot of the Year along with Ferentz. Lewis, at 5-foot-11, 192 pounds, ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at his Pittsburgh pro day in March. He ran a 1.59-second 10-yard split with a 35-inch vertical leap, 10-foot, 8-inch broad jump, 4.34-second short shuttle and 6.87-second 3-cone drill.
Lewis, 23, might be in the mix next summer as the Patriots look for a cornerback to replace Malcolm Butler. A full offseason with the Patriots could certainly help him earn a spot on the 53-man roster. The Patriots paid Lewis like an active-roster player to keep him from jumping ship to another team’s 53-man roster this season.
Tye also could make an impact next season. The Patriots are set to pay veteran tight ends Dwayne Allen and Martellus Bennett potentially more than they’re worth, which means they could be released. That would leave the Patriots with just Rob Gronkowski, if he chooses not to retire, Tye and Jacob Hollister at tight end.
Tye, 26, has experience starting in the NFL from his time with the New York Giants. He could break out in training camp to help earn a spot on the active roster. He caught 94 passes for 897 yards with four touchdowns in 32 games with 18 starts in three NFL seasons.
McCarron certainly looks like a future Patriots slot receiver. Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien even compared McCarron to Wes Welker.
Jones and Travis both showed upside at safety during their rookie summer with the Patriots. They both stayed on the Patriots’ practice squad all season.