With initial 53-man rosters finalized and the waiver window now closed, the New England Patriots began to assemble their 16-man practice squad Wednesday afternoon.
Below is a running tally of players the Patriots have signed to their practice squad, according to various reports:
TE Matt LaCosse
DB Myles Bryant
DT Bill Murray
G Alex Redmond
WR Tre Nixon
K Nick Folk
The NFL instituted new rules last season that expanded the size of practice squads and allowed any player to join one regardless of service time. In previous years, players like LaCosse and Redmond, who both have more than two accrued NFL seasons, would have been ineligible.
LaCosse, Bryant, Murray, Redmond, Nixon, Wilkerson, Ross, Hoyer, Bower, Folk, Ferentz and Sherman all were released by the Patriots during final roster cuts. The Patriots announced the signings of those 12 players Wednesday afternoon.
New England did not lose any players to waiver claims Wednesday.
Hoyer is the most notable practice squad inclusion thus far, as he was expected to re-sign to the 53-man roster after being cut Tuesday. That still could happen before Week 1. With Jarrett Stidham on the physically unable to perform list, rookie Mac Jones currently is the only quarterback on New England’s roster.
Teams are allowed to elevate practice squad players to the gameday roster a limited number of times each season, so the Patriots could keep Hoyer in his current spot and elevate him to back up Jones in next Sunday’s season opener against the Miami Dolphins. That’s how New England handled its kicker position early last year, entering Week 1 with both Nick Folk and Justin Rohrwasser on the practice squad.
Tavai was New England’s first outside addition. The Hawaii product was viewed as a potential Patriots target in the 2019 NFL Draft before ultimately going to Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions in the second round. Patricia rejoined the Patriots as an advisor this offseason.
Mason, a New England native who played his high school ball in Newtown, Conn., was drafted in the fifth round by the Baltimore Ravens earlier this year but was cut out of camp. The Michigan product’s arrival could have implications for fullback Jakob Johnson, who made the 53-man roster on Tuesday.
Re-signing Folk to the practice squad means rookie kicker Quinn Nordin’s job isn’t fully secure. If Nordin’s consistency wavers, the Patriots can boot him out and elevate Folk, who made 92.9 percent of his field goals last season.
Gilbert, who was with the Patriots in 2014 and 2015, adds another body to New England’s quarterback room.