The cut-down day is one of the more challenging days for Patriots fans in the media because people like myself spend a lot of time speculating about fringe roster players and under-the-radar sleepers.
Typically most of these players don’t end up on the final roster, which stinks because of the time and effort the players put into the game, and the time we put into these pieces feels wasted. But it certainly wasn’t because we must put effort into things that are important to us. Otherwise, we wouldn’t feel that sense of pride.
So to make this a little easier to break down, I will use three categories to classify the cut players: the usual suspects, the fringe, and the shockers. The players who the Patriots released are TE Devin Asiasi, DB Justin Bethel, OL Drew Desjarlais, OL Yasir Durant, OL James Ferentz, OL Arlington Hambright, WR Josh Hammond, RB Kevin Harris, DB Brad Hawkins, WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey, LB Harvey Langi, LB Cameron McGrone, CB Terrance Mitchell, OL Bill Murray, WR Tre Nixon, DL Jeremiah Pharms Jr., DL LaBryan Ray, OL Kody Russey, OL Will Sherman, TE Matt Sokol, RB J.J. Taylor, K Tristan Vizcaino, LB Nate Wieland, and TE Jalen Wydermyer.
The Usual Suspects
That header isn’t meant to be rude, and it is difficult to make it this far in the NFL process, let alone make the active roster. However, players at this skill level are, unfortunately, the first to go on the final cut day. Nate Wieland is a linebacker who was injured and never flourished. Josh Hammond never seemed on the same page with either Zappe or Hoyer. CFL offensive line Drew Desjarlais showed a small glimpse of talent but not enough to get bumped up.
Harvey Langi was a player who many people thought would make the team, but I never saw what they did. So I wanted other players to take his playing time for a while. Nothing against him, but I thought there were better options. Will Sherman was seldom talked about by fans and coaches alike. His play was not what I would like protecting Mac Jones, same with Yasir Durant and James Ferentz, even in backup roles.
Kody Russey was one of the undrafted free agents signed this season but didn’t see much playing time due to injuries, and I think they would like to bring him to the practice squad. Brad Hawkins made a couple of plays during the offseason, but the defensive back grouping is complete. Finally, matt Sokol had no draft capital invested in him by this team and has turned into a practice squad journeyman. Tristan Vizcaino was never going to make this roster. It’s Nick Folk’s team now.
Patriots Who Were On The Fringe
This group of players was on my list of possible cuts I would’ve liked to avoid. I thought Bill Murray and Aliston Hambright played well enough to supplant Justin Herron on the roster. Still, it seems like the two-way player and aggressive lineman will have to clear waivers or begin their journey on another roster. Justin Bethel surprised me because he has been a Belichick guy. However, I have thought his play on the field has declined, so the move makes sense.
Jalen Wydermyer was a player I had faith in coming out of the draft, so when they signed him, I thought he could emerge in the future, but the money in the tight end room didn’t corporate with that vision. Jeremiah Pharms Jr made a highlight play against the Giants, but the shift in talent was too much for him to handle making the roster. LaBryan Ray was a fanbase darling, while unfortunately, he did not create enough havoc up front to make the roster.
Many Patriots fans were upset when the team cut 2020 third-round pick Devin Asiasi, not because they thought he would contribute to the team but because of the third-round picks wasted from 2018 to 2020. I feel for the player, but it was never going to work, and they knew that when they spent all that money on Henry and Jonnu. So neither the Keene nor the Asiasi cuts surprised me. I also thought J.J Taylor was going to be the cut-down danger zone. His play never enamored me. His being on the roster takes touches from Rhamondre, which no one wants.
Surprising Patriots Cuts
Well, I’ll rip the band-aid off. The Patriots cutting Lil Jordan Humphrey sucks. I thought he had a unique skill set that could be useful. He had the name and the game to make it which is why it stings, I’m very hopeful he ends up on our practice squad, but a couple of teams could use Humphrey’s size and timing. Adding to the pile of fizzled-out training camp stars is Tre Nixon, another player with a very good chance to make the rest with his play on the sidelines and high pointing the long ball. Apparently, Bill feels good about the core group of receivers going into the year.
Terrance Mitchell was an unforeseen cut, I thought he added more size and experience to the outside corner spot, but the team seems to be going with the youth movement. His playing time dwindled the more Jonathan Jones became up to speed and fully healthy. Mitchell should be able to find a job on another CB needy team.
Kevin Harris was one of my favorite late-round picks for this team. But unfortunately, having a sixth-round draft capital as a running back in today’s NFL is tricky to overcome. Although the running back room retained four players, it is hard to see them use another spot on a player like Kevin, and I hope he clears waivers and can end up on our practice squad.
If they are polled, Cameron McGrone getting cut was arguably the most shocking move to Patriots fans. As a fan base, we were so sure he would come in and be the answer at linebacker. He didn’t play horribly, so the staff must’ve seen what they wanted from McMillan, Bentley, and Wilson. Still, the way he was talked up before the draft and during the off-season certainly made it an interesting decision.
The cut-down day is always difficult, primarily when you get invested in guys being released. The good thing, however, is that the regular season is less than ten days away. Patriots football is almost back. We have our initial roster, win or lose, and I am ready to go to war with it and see what this season holds.
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