New England Patriots: The Final Roster Is Never Final

As the final cut down date in the NFL passes everyone tries to analyze who the Patriots cut and who “made the team.”  Before you set the roster in stone remember, there will still be some fairly significant moves before kick-off Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It is rare (like never) that the original roster stays intact going into game 1. There’s a good chance that by the time you read this article moves will already have occurred.

Who Is Still At Risk?

Those currently still on the roster have outperformed others to reach this point…but, hopefully they won’t relax too quickly.  Before going out and buying that luxury SUV or sports car, many need to realize life in the NFL can be very short.

Chris Harper hauls one in against the Saints (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/
Chris Harper hauls one in against the Saints (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/
  • Chris Harper – WR: Reggie Wayne showed he doesn’t have it anymore and asked to be released before he was unceremoniously cut. Sorry Wayne supporters, but Bill Belichick doesn’t keep you if you can’t help and, if he felt Wayne would have, he’d still be a Patriot. With Brandon LaFell on the PUP list and not available until week 7, Harper is hanging on to that final spot. The 21 year old rookie free agent impressed everyone this pre-season, but it is likely at some point the Patriots will try to slip him through waivers and get him on the practice squad.
  • Dion Lewis/James White/Travaris Cadet – RB: LaGarrette Blount is suspended for the season opener, so the question is who gets the shot Thursday night to show he can fill the big shoes left by Shane Vereen’s departure.  When Blount returns, one or two of this trio will be gone, and right now it’s a crapshoot who should stay…and who should go. The surprise cut of fan favorite Jonas Gray left the door open.

To this point Cadet hasn’t been able to see the field because of injuries, White (a 2014 4th round draft pick) has looked better in his second camp and Lewis has risen to the top when given a chance.   The injury to James Develin really doesn’t impact this trio, but it did allow a longer look-see for the coaching staff. Right now the only power running back on the roster is Belichick favorite Brandon Bolden.

This Year’s Surprise Cut

Indianapolis, IN - 11/16/14 - (4th quarter) New England Patriots running back Jonas Gray (35) adds an emphatic pose after pounding his way into the end zone for a fourth quarter touchdown. The New England Patriots take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: Sports, Reporter: Shalise Manza Young, Topic: 17Patriots-Colts, LOID:7.4.3659348687.
Bye-bye Jonas Gray, we hardly got to know you(Barry Chin/Globe Staff)

Bill Belichick is known for his “surprise” cuts and this year’s edition was Jonas Gray. After last year’s dazzling performance against the Indianapolis Colts, Gray literally disappeared and Blount came back to town. Most predicted he was a lock this year, but it looks like he never really escaped Belichick’s doghouse.

Don’t be too shocked if there are more moves to come as the team brings possible additions through the swinging doors at Gillette Stadium. Moves in the secondary still seem likely to occur and the fate of many will be in the hands of the best Head Coach in the NFL. The good news is, no matter what, the Belichick-Tom Brady connection is still intact and ready to punish the doubters.

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

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