(Note: The Herald will consolidate each of the Patriots’ roster moves in this blog post, as they trim from 90 players to 53 in time for Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline.)
2:00 p.m.: The Patriots have pulled off their first shocking move of the weekend by trading quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the Colts for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, according to a source.
Dorsett can absolutely fly. He ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine in 2015, and the Colts selected the Miami product in the first round of that draft. Dorsett returned punts at Miami, though he only had a couple with the Colts, but that will help him contribute immediately. The Patriots have lost Julian Edelman and Cyrus Jones to torn ACLs, so their punt return responsibilities were a question mark.
Brissett was terrific in his final game as a Patriot. He completed 28 of 39 passes for 340 yards, four touchdowns and an interception Thursday against the Giants, and he added four carries for 29 yards and a score. However, the 2016 third-round pick was going to remain as the third-string quarterback this season and wouldn’t have been active for any games without an injury to Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo.
All along, Brissett seemed like a safe candidate to make the roster unless another team proposed a trade to the Patriots. The lack of a punt returner, as well as Dorsett’s obvious talent as a former first-rounder, yields a strong return on the Brissett investment.
Dorsett had 51 catches for 753 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons with the Colts. He averaged 5.4 yards per punt return and didn’t have any touchdowns at Miami.
If Dorsett can pick up the offense, the Patriots will have an incredible amount of speed on the field at once on packages with Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan. Dorsett, at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, has been a slot receiver, too.
The Colts obviously wanted Brissett because Andrew Luck is recovering from shoulder surgery and appears likely to miss time in the regular season. Their backup quarterback situation has been a mess, seemingly forever, but yet again this summer. Of course, there’s some risk involved on the Patriots’ side if Brissett develops into a capable starter for an organization that has been chasing them for years. But that might be more of a short-term risk if Luck returns to health.
1:43 p.m.: Josh Augusta was indeed waived/injured, according to a source. He’ll revert to injured reserve if and when he clears waivers, and he’ll get an injury settlement. The undrafted rookie got hurt during pregame warmups Thursday.
1:00 p.m.: The Patriots have swung another trade, landing cornerback and special teamer Johnson Bademosi from the Lions, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Pats sent a sixth-round pick in 2019 for the highly touted special teamer.
Defensive tackle Josh Augusta, wide receiver Tony Washington, cornerback D.J. Killings and running back LeShun Daniels were not at practice today. Augusta was injured during pregame warmups Thursday night and appears to be heading toward either an injury settlement or injured reserve based on the outcome of his tests. Washington, Killings and Daniels were long shots, so it can be assumed they were released. With those four out and Bademosi in, the Patriots are at 74 players.
Vincent Valentine and Devin Lucien were also missing from practice. Lucien was in the locker room prior to practice, so it’s unclear what’s going on there. No idea why Valentine was out.
Shea McClellin and Tony Garcia were absent as well. Both have been injured for about a month. On the other side, Nate Ebner and Harvey Langi returned to practice.
10:25 a.m.: The Patriots are back on the practice field this afternoon, just before the 4 p.m. deadline for roster cuts. It’s a cold reality for the handful of players who look like they’ll be practicing before their ultimate release. As of this moment, it doesn’t sound like there have been any morning cuts, though the Pats reportedly added two more to the chopping block last night: linebacker Jonathan Freeny and offensive lineman Max Rich. That leaves them at 77 players with two dozen to go.
If Bill Belichick does indeed to wait until after practice to finalize the cuts, here’s one theory: The players who will be cut are strong practice squad candidates, so Belichick won’t want to keep them off the field today when they’ll be back tomorrow anyway. Plus, with the Patriots in regular-season mode due to the early opener, there is some logic in practicing with as many players as possible while injuries mount across the roster. It might look cold on the surface, but there’s a way to rationalize it.
5:23 p.m.: The Patriots have released safety Jason Thompson, according to a source. Down to 79.
4:55 p.m.: The Patriots have released tight end Sam Cotton, offensive lineman Jason King and linebacker Mikey Bart, according to sources. They’re down to 80 players.
3:43 p.m.: The Patriots have released Glenn Gronkowski, according to a source. They’re down to 83 players.
3:37 p.m.: The Patriots traded cornerback Justin Coleman to the Seahawks for a late draft pick, according to a source. This leaves the Pats with 84 players.
This trade appeared to come out of nowhere today, so Kenny Moore and Will Likely could now have a chance to crack the final 53. They both have special teams value, with Moore as a gunner and Likely as a punt returner, and that’s a necessity for the fifth corner on the roster.
3:30 p.m.: The Patriots opened the day with 90 players on the roster. Julian Edelman, Derek Rivers and Cyrus Jones will all head to injured reserve, and Andrew Jelks will remain on the non-football injury list. Keionta Davis hasn’t practiced since signing early in camp, so he appears to be a stash-and-save guy who will end up on injured reserve. That drops them to 85 players.