The New England Patriots roster battle at wide receiver lost one contestant Tuesday.
The Patriots released wideout Devin Smith ahead of their first training camp practice, according to a report from Jim McBride of The Boston Globe.
Smith, who spent time on the Patriots’ practice squad last season, was viewed as a long shot to crack the team’s 53-man roster. A second-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2015, the former Ohio State star has just five career receptions and has not appeared in a game since 2019.
After fielding one of the NFL’s weakest receiving corps in 2020, the Patriots took steps to improve that group this offseason, signing veterans Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne on Day 1 of free agency. Both are roster locks, as is 2020 standout Jakobi Meyers. All-Pro punt returner Gunner Olszewski is a safe bet to make the team, as well.
The rest of New England’s wideout hopefuls could be fighting for just one roster spot. Headlining that group is 2019 first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry, who requested a trade this offseason. If Harry is not dealt, he’ll need to beat out Isaiah Zuber, Kristian Wilkerson, Devin Ross, seventh-round rookie Tre Nixon and any additional wideouts who come aboard this summer to keep his place on the team.
Smith’s release gives the Patriots an open spot on their 90-man roster. Their first training camp practice is scheduled for Wednesday morning outside Gillette Stadium.