The New England Patriots got down to the 53-man roster by releasing 19 players Saturday, but it appears Bill Belichick & Co., are nowhere near done with moves.
The Patriots kept Ryan Mallett, which means they will go into the season with three quarterbacks, including Tom Brady and rookie Jimmy Garoppolo.
The team released six veterans, the biggest surprise being long snapper Danny Aiken. Why? Because they don’t have a true long snapper on the roster. LB/DE Rob Ninkovich is the back-up, so it’s very likely the Patriots will make a move for a long snapper before they have to play in Miami on Sept. 7.
Other veterans cut include:
LB Steve Beauharnais, DL Jake Bequette, WR Josh Boyce, TE Steve Maneri and DL Jerel Worthy. Maneri, a rugged blocker, just signed with the Patriots on Aug. 10 while Worthy came in a trade on Aug. 13.
New England also cut two draft picks: guard Jon Halapio (sixth round) and WR Jeremy Gallon (seventh round).
Other players released were OL Braxston Cave, LB Ja’Gared Davis, S Kanorris Davis, RB Jonas Gray and DB Daxton Swanson.
Among the rookie free agents released were RB Roy Finch, S Shamiel Gary, DL Eathyn Manumaleuna, OL Chris Martin, LB Taylor McCuller and DL L.T. Tuipulotu. Of those, Finch and McCuller seemed to make the most impression with their versatility. Finch was returning kicks while McCuller lined up at fullback several times.
The Patriots also put rookie LB James Morrison Injured Reserve. He was injured in Thursday’s final preseason game against the New York Giants.
It was somewhat of a surprise that neither guard Dan Connolly nor center Ryan Wendell were cut. But in the wake of the Logan Mankins trade last Tuesday, it perhaps makes sense to keep the veteran lineman on the team early in the season so the younger players, such as rookie C Bryan Stork and OL Jordan Devey and Josh Kline can continue to learn.
Ben Volin of the Boston Glove actually had an interesting tweet earlier Saturday that stated the Patriots have asked right tackle Sebastian Vollmer to learn left guard (Mankins’ spot) and have Marcus Cannon move in at left tackle.
Among the other players that survived the cut was RB Brandon Bolden, who didn’t play in the final two preseason games.
It should be noted that this roster also includes two suspended players: CB Brandon Browner and WR Brian Tyms. They both have to sit out the first four games of the season.
Browner was a big free agent signing in the off-season from Seattle. Tyms made the team with one of the more impressive training camps.