New England Patriots roster cuts: Tracking the practice squad

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The New England Patriots are beginning to build their practice squad on Wednesday after trimming their roster to 53 men on Tuesday. New England’s roster took an interesting shape, with the team holding onto just one quarterback. Alas, Bill Belichick had a few moves up his sleeve.

Amid the big news that the Patriots planned to start quarterback Mac Jones and cut Cam Newton, New England went about business, shedding players like kicker Nick Folk, quarterback Brian Hoyer, defensive back Myles Bryant and defensive tackle Akeem Spence. Some of those players are back — others are not. Let’s dive into the initial practice squad (so far) for 2021.

QB Brian Hoyer

The Patriots retained their veteran quarterback, who has enjoyed three different stints with the team since 2009 when he joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State. It's surprising -- and maybe even shocking -- that Newton isn't here and Hoyer is. But alas, that's the strange reality we live in. (Karen Guregian)

WR Kristian Wilkerson

He led the Patriots in receptions during the preseason with 13 receptions for 147 catches. He had his issues with drops, but Wilkerson will likely see the field in the regular season -- perhaps as soon as Week 1. New England can activate him to the game-day roster, per NFL rules which were implemented last year. (Mark Daniels)

DB Myles Bryant

He played at slot cornerback and safety in 2020 for the Patriots defense. He looked like a viable option during training camp, but the team decided to let him hit free agency. Now, he's back. (Karen Guregian)

TE Matt LaCosse

The Patriots have had some injuries issues at tight end, but both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry appear to be rounding a corner so that they'll be ready for Week 1. LaCosse, however, is a fine depth option off the practice squad. (Mike Reiss)

OL Alex Redmond

Considering the Patriots have 10 offensive linemen, New England is probably hoping they won't have to promote Redmond. That would be a break-glass situation. (Mark Daniels)

DL Bill Murray

Serving as a disruptive presence in the interior, Murray was excellent in the preseason. Perhaps we'll see him on the field at some point during the regular season. (Doug Kyed)

WR Tre Nixon

New England will give Ernie Adams' final draft pick as a Patriot a year to develop on the practice squad. Don't expect to see Nixon in games, however. (Mark Daniels)

DB D'Angelo Ross

He flashed in a big way in the Patriots' preseason finale. That game solidified his spot on the practice squad, even if he didn't make the 53-man roster. He can play slot corner and safety. (Karen Guregian)

LB Jahlani Tavai

A former Lions draft pick reuniting with Matt Patricia, Tavai is the prototypically sized (6-foot-2, 250 pounds) inside linebacker for the Patriots. He is the first addition who is coming from another team. (Field Yates)

FB Ben Mason

Another fullback! Coming from the Ravens, Mason will compete with Jakob Johnson, who is currently on a roster exemption (for foreign players). Mason is a former fifth-round pick who could earn his way onto the roster -- and quickly -- if he can get a hang of the playbook. (Ian Rapoport)

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