The Patriots announced a number of roster moves this afternoon to get down to the NFL league limit of 75 players. Here is the official release from the Patriots:
The team released veterans, DLÂ Tim Bulman, WRÂ Jabar Gaffney,Â WR Donteâ Stallworth, DBÂ Ross VentroneÂ and DLÂ Gerard Warren.
Defensive backÂ Will Allen, SÂ Josh BarrettÂ and FBÂ Spencer LarsenÂ were placed on injured reserve.
Tight endÂ Jake BallardÂ and DLÂ Myron PryorÂ were placed on the Reserve/Physical Unable to Perform list. Rookie free agent OLÂ Markus ZusevicsÂ was placed on the Reserve/Non Football Injury List.
Obviously what stands out is the team cutting Gaffney and Stallworth at wide receiver. Taking a closer look at last week’s game against the Buccaneers showed an indication this might be coming. Gaffney did not play at all, while Stallworth played 22 of the 72 offensive plays. ReceiversÂ Brandon Lloyd, Julian Edelman and Jesse Holley all played more snaps than Stallworth. Wes Welker sat out with a “personal issue”, which he revealed on Monday, while Gaffney sat out with a thigh injury — maybe the injury is worse than it appears.
The team now has seven players at wide receiver. In addition to Welker, Lloyd, Edelman and Holley there is Matthew Slater, Jeremy Ebert and Deion Branch. Seven wide receivers is a lot to carry. Five, potentially six is more realistic and it would appear the final cuts at the receiver position will come down to Holley and Ebert.
Aside from Gaffney and Stallworth, the cuts announced Monday were not very surprising. Allen and Barrett were both long shots to make the team coming into camp and everyone knows Ventrone’s story of being released and then brought back seemingly every week last season, so who knows, he could come back at some point. Ballard’s move to the PUP list keeps hope alive that he could miraculously return this season from his ACL injury suffered last year.
The big cuts will come on Friday when the roster will be shrunk once again, this time from 75 to the regular season limit of 53.