By: Derek Havens
The New England Patriots made several roster transactions on Saturday to trim their roster to the league mandated 53-man limit.
The Pats released 15 players today, placed three players on the reserve physically unable to perform list, one player on the reserve non-football injury List and one on injured reserve.
The following is a list of the players who were released by the Patritots on Saturday:
Brandon Meriweather, Sammy Morris, Brandon Tate, Tiquan Underwood, Niko Koutouvides, Landon Cohen, Alex Silvestro, Markell Carter, Aaron Lavarias, Eric Moore, Eric Kettani, Thomas Austin, Lee Smith, Will Yeatman and Ross Ventrone.
In other moves, defensive linemen Ron Brace (elbow) and Brandon Deaderick (shoulder) will join Kevin Faulk on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) to start the season, while offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger was placed on injured reserve after suffering an apparent concussion against the Giants.
Analysis: Starting with the biggest news of the day, the release of safety Brandon Meriweather, I was definitely surprised by this move. After the Patriots released safety James Sanders on Monday, I thought Meriweather would be on the roster. The Pats reportedly were looking to trade the two-time pro bowler, but could not find a trade partner.
A week ago, the team’s deepest position was at safety, now it seems they have to bring in a veteran. Could Darren Sharper be an option? A lot of members of Patriot’s Nation have been calling for the organization to sign him. Also, this move puts a lot of pressure Patrick Chung in my opinion. I think Chung could be a star in this league but he has to find a way to stay healthy.
The team’s release of Sammy Morris did not surprise me in the least bit. There has been a lot of chatter about the two-sides parting ways and the team made it official on Saturday.
Brandon Tate is another player I was not surprised to see cut. I really loved the Tar Heel product coming out of college but Mathew Slater’s versatility and value on special teams spelled the end for the three-year player. He could most definitely contribute on another NFL roster.
Eric Moore is definitely a player I was surprised about being released. After a solid end to last season and starting the training camp as the starting DE/OLB in defensive drills, he was cut. He is another guy who could land on his feet somewhere in the NFL.
The team announced the release of fifth-round pick Lee Smith, I assumed fellow tight-end Will Yeatman was a roster lock at that point. But like many writers and analysts, I was wrong. The Pats cut both rookie tight-ends leaving them with two second-year players at the position. While Lee Smith’s status is uncertain, Yeatman will reportedly join the team’s practice squad. I think there is a strong possibility the team brings in another tight-end. Perhaps veteran Alge Crumpler, who played with the team last season, is an option to round out the position?
After the Patriots claimed cornerback Antwaun Molden off waivers, there was a lot of speculation in regards to his security on final cuts. After an impressive showing on Thursday night against the Giants, he appears to have won over the coaching staff. The 26-year-old entered the NFL in 2008 and was drafted by the Texans in the third-round out of Eastern Kentucky. Molden is a good size, 6-1 200, and runs a 4.39 40-yard dash. I believe Molden will be in the mix for defensive sub packages and could contribute to this defense.
Along with the news of Saturday’s roster transactions, it seems Darius Butler could also be on his way out of town. The team has reportedly placed him on the trading block and he could be shipped out in the next couple of days. Could the Pats send Butler to their recent opponent, the New York Giants, who have faced a multitude of injuries thus far is the pre-season?
If you would like a full positional breakdown of the Patriots new 53-man roster, check out the entry I posted yesterday.
Also, if you have a Twitter account, be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!