The New England Patriots cut 19 players on Saturday as the team trimmed its roster down to 53. There were not many surprise moves on offense. The Patriots waived 2013 fourth-round draft choice Josh Boyce and decided to keep Brian Tyms who will serve a four-game suspension when the season starts. Here’s an overall breakdown of the moves made on offense.
Quarterbacks: The Patriots are going with three quarterbacks for now. There are rumblings that a few teams might be interested in a trade for Ryan Mallett. If that happens, rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be the backup to Tom Brady. As it stands, there is still a question as to who is the No. 2. Garoppolo has seemingly won that role with his performance in the preseason, but Bill Belichick may still decide to go with Mallett based on experience.
Running Backs: The Patriots cut RB Roy Finch, Jonas Gray and FB Taylor McCuller. All three players are eligible for the practice squad if they clear waivers. This leaves Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden, fourth-round pick James White and Shane Vereen as the running backs. Ridley is expected to be on a short leash due to issues with ball security. Bolden and White will compete for that No. 2 running back role. White may also be used in packages alongside Vereen, creating a duel receiving threat out of the backfield. FB James Develin is the lone fullback, but he may be used as a tight end in some packages. Don’t’ be surprised to see Develin used more in the passing game out of the backfield.
Receivers: In an expected move, the Patriots did indeed waive Josh Boyce. He was projected as the team’s top kickoff returner as training camp began, but the emergence of Tyms along with the depth the team now has at wide receiver made it tough for Boyce. Kenbrell Thompkins once again outperformed him and has shown a chemistry with Brady. Boyce will also be a practice-squad candidate.
With Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson and Thompkins, Brady has a pretty deep rotation of receivers to throw the ball to. The team is hoping either LaFell, Dobson or Thompkins can emerge as that outside threat the team has been searching for since the days of Randy Moss. If none of them can breakout as the clear outside threat, Tyms could get a look after he returns from suspension. Keeping Tyms around also provides security in case of injury to one of the top five receivers. The team also waived seventh-round draft pick Jeremy Gallon.
Tight Ends: The Patriots cut TE Steve Maneri on Saturday, but that was expected. It could also mean that the team expects Rob Gronkowski to play Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. Newly acquired Tim Wright and Michael Hoomanawanui round out the tight end group. Again, James Develin could see time at tight end if there is an injury to any of the top three tight ends.
Offensive line: The Patriots waved C Braxston Cave and OL Jon Halapio. After trading All-Pro Logan Mankins, much attention will be paid to the group of guys protecting Tom Brady. Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer will have to step up as vocal leaders. Josh Kline, Marcus Cannon, Bryan Stork, Chris Barker, Dan Connolly and Jordan Devey round out the group of offensive lineman. There could be changes here before Week 1. Some interesting players were released from other teams, so don’t be surprised if the Patriots picked up another veteran to add to this group.