New England Patriots: 2021 Roster Cuts Tracker, Analysis, and Biggest Surprises

With the 2021 preseason now in the books, the New England Patriots must now focus their efforts on trimming the roster down to 53 players. By Tuesday, August 31st at 4 p.m. ET. the New England Patriots must have their 53-man roster set. 

Below, is a tracker of all the Patriots’ roster cuts, analysis on each cut, and the biggest surprise roster moves. NOTE: This article will be updated following every cut the Patriots make through Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. 

New England Patriots roster cuts

  • Adrian Colbert, S 

Analysis: Adrian Colbert reportedly had some nice moments during training camp and he played well in the preseason, but he was always considered a long shot to make the final roster. 

The Patriots simply don’t have the roster spots available to keep a fifth safety. Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, and Myles Bryant are all likely to make the roster.

  • Tre Nixon, WR

Analysis: Tre Nixon, the Patriots’ 2021 7th round pick, didn’t make much noise this offseason. As history has shown us, it often takes time for rookie wide receivers to fully pick up the Patriots’ offense. New England will more than likely keep Nixon around on the practice squad, assuming he goes unclaimed through waivers.

  • Bill Murray, DL

Analysis: Bill Murray was tremendous in preseason action. He was disruptive inside and he played a ton of special teams. Unfortunately, he fell victim to the sheer amount of depth the Patriots have along the interior defensive line.

Like Nixon, Murray is someone the Patriots will likely want to stick around on the practice squad. That said, it will be interesting to see if another team claims Murray after he showed promise this offseason.

  • Will Sherman, OL

Analysis: Sixth-round rookie, Will Sherman is another practice squad candidate. Sherman is a raw player and will need to develop as an offensive guard before receiving a real shot for playing time.

  • Dee Virgin, CB

Analysis: The Patriots seemed to like Dee Virgin’s special team’s ability in the preseason, but not enough to make the final roster. The reason being, New England was likely looking for more coverage capability from Virgin. With special teams ace, Justin Bethel already making the roster as a corner, the Patriots couldn’t devote two roster spots at the position for strict special teams players.

  • Kristian Wilkerson, WR

Analysis: This is the first big cut of the day. Many felt Kristian Wilkerson had a shot at making the final roster after a strong training camp and preseason, but that won’t be the case. Wilkerson’s struggle with drops likely hurt his case.

Due to his promising performance in the preseason, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Wilkerson claimed by another organization. In fact, I think that’s to be expected. However, if he does go unclaimed, it would make sense the Patriots would want him back on the practice squad.

  • D’Angelo Ross, CB

Analysis: There was some thought D’Angelo Ross could sneak on the roster with injuries to fellow slot corners, Jonathan Jones and Myles Bryant, but he instead was cut. This is likely a good sign of health for at least one of Jones or Bryant. Remember, Ross started the preseason finale at slot corner.

It should be noted that newly acquired Shaun Wade also has slot corner experience. There just wasn’t enough room for a still-developing Ross on the roster.

  • Matt LaCosse, TE

Analysis: This is a small surprise, as it would have made some sense to place Matt LaCosse on the IR instead of outrighting cutting him. That said, LaCosse was always going to be the fourth option at tight end behind Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, and Devin Asiasi.

It should be interesting to see if he lands somewhere else. LaCosse is a solid depth piece, but shouldn’t be relied upon to have a big role in an offense.

  • Alex Redmond, G

Analysis: Alex Redmond never looked like he had much of a chance to make the roster outside of an injury or two to guys in front of him on the depth chart. The starting offensive line has long been solidified and Ted Karras will be the main backup along the interior.

  • Myles Bryant, S/CB

Analysis: The release of Bryant is the first big shocker of the day. Bryant showed flashes of brilliance last season as a rookie. He looked like he had a very good shot to make the final roster this season. Bryant played safety and corner, so it will be interesting to see how the Patriots recoup the depth at those positions.

Obviously, the Patriots would love to get Bryant back on the practice squad, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him claimed by another team.

  • Isaiah Zuber, WR

Analysis: The momentum Isaiah Zuber had built last season as a rookie seemed to come to a halt in this year’s training camp. Zuber didn’t show much year-two improvement. Plus, the wide receiver room as a whole got better. Add those two things together and it’s clear why Zuber was a long shot to make the final roster. Whether or not he’s brought back via the practice squad will be intriguing to see.

  • Montravius Adams, DL

Analysis: The Patriots’ interior defensive line depth made Montravius Adam’s road to a roster spot very difficult. He’s a good depth piece though and would be a good player to keep around on the practice squad for injury insurance.

  • Cam Newton, QB

Analysis: The release of Cam Newton was an absolute stunner. Newton was thought of by most as the Week 1 starting quarterback, but Mac Jones did enough in training camp and the preseason to win the job. Newton will now look to go elsewhere for a chance to be a starting quarterback, while Jones will be the Patriots’ QB1.

  • Akeem Spence, DT

Analysis: Like Bill Murray, the release of Akeem Spence had a lot to do with the amount of depth the Patriots currently have on the interior defensive line. There was just no way to reasonably fit Spence on the final 53.

  • Nick Folk, K

Analysis: Nick Folk was as reliable as they come last year for the Patriots. That said, he was injured most of this offseason and it appears he has lost his job to undrafted rookie Quinn Nordin. Folk is a candidate to stick around on the practice squad.

  • Brian Hoyer, QB

Analysis: I would be very surprised if Brian Hoyer doesn’t re-sign with the Patriots in the coming days. Hoyer was likely cut to sneak someone like N’Keal Harry on the roster before placing him on short-term IR. Harry going to the IR would then open up a roster spot, thus allowing Hoyer to re-sign.

  • Michael Jackson, CB

Analysis: Michael Jackson came into training camp with a good shot to earn a roster spot. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to put together a good preseason. Joejuan Williams and newly acquired Shaun Wade both outperformed Jackson.

  • James Ferentz, OL

Analysis:  James Ferentz is a solid veteran depth piece on the inside. That said, Ted Karras already fills the backup interior linemen role. Plus, New England clearly preferred tackle depth to interior depth. I would imagine a lot of that has to do with the injury histories of Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown. Ferentz would be a strong addition to the practice squad.

  • Korey Cunningham, OL

Analysis: The Patriots trade for Yasir Durant and the emergence of Yodny Cajuste spelled the end of Korey Cunningham’s time in New England. It’s as simple as that. Cunningham spent two seasons in New England as a reserve tackle.

  • Nick Thurman, DT

Analysis: Nick Thurman is another interior defensive lineman that fell victim to the numbers game. With such a strong group of proven players upfront, it was always going to be hard for an unproven talent like Thurman to make the roster.

  • Tashawn Bower, Edge

Analysis:  Tashawn Bower had good moments last season with the Patriots and he followed that up with a strong preseason. All that said, New England already had good depth at the edge position. Bower is someone the Patriots should look to keep around on the practice squad.

New England Patriots IR, PUP, and NFI moves

  • Stephon Gilmore will remain on the PUP list and will miss at least the first six games of the 2021 season.

  • Byron Cowart will remain on the PUP list and will miss at least the first six games of the 2021 season.

  • Cameron McGrone, the Patriots 2021 fifth-round pick, will enter the 2021 season on the non-football injury list.

  • Anfernee Jennings, the Patriots third round pick in 2020 was placed on IR, which means his season is over.

  • Joshuah Bledsoe, the Patriots’ 2021 sixth-round pick, will enter the 2021 season on the non-football injury list.

  • Terez Hall will remain on the PUP list and will miss at least the first six games of the 2021 season.

  • Jarrett Stidham will remain on the PUP list and will miss at least the first six games of the 2021 season.

New England Patriots trades

  • New England recieved OL Yasir Durant, while the Kanas City Chiefs recieved a 2022 seventh-round draft pick.

Biggest suprises

  • The release of safety/corner hybrid Myles Bryant was a big shocker. The Patriots’ corner room was already shaky, especially without Stephon Gilmore. With Gilmore on PUP and Byrant released the Patriots will now roll with J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Shaun Wade, and Jalen Mills at corner.
  • Naming Mac Jones QB1 and cutting Cam Newton is undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the day. Doug Kyed of PFF reported that Newton’s vaccination status and his command of the locker room were two big reasons why New England made the decision to cut Newton instead of keeping him on as a backup. The Patriots’ ultimate trust has now been placed in Jones.
  • Quinn Nordin winning the starting kicker job was very unexpected. Nordin reportedly had a strong beginning to training camp, but in the second preseason game, he went 1/2 on field goals and 2/4 on extra points. Those inconsistencies led most, including me, to believe that the Patriots would stick with the more reliable Nick Folk. Bill Belichick obviously felt otherwise. Nordin has a big leg and it should be exciting to see if he can squash the inconsistencies he faced in the preseason.

2 thoughts on “New England Patriots: 2021 Roster Cuts Tracker, Analysis, and Biggest Surprises

  • August 31, 2021 at 8:34 am
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    Glad to see this is active and publishing content, well written, thoughtful reporting
    Nice work…..

    Reply
  • September 1, 2021 at 3:04 pm
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    I was surprised to see both Brandon Bolden and Brandon King make the team. If the Pats can bring in a good WR or CB, then one of them may be at risk.

    Reply

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