The New England Patriots made a series of roster moves on the day of the NFL trade deadline, though none involved other teams.
While many fans may have wondered whether Bill Belichick still had some more tricks up his sleeve before the NFL’s trade deadline at 4 pm EST on Tuesday, October 29, it appears the New England Patriots were content to largely stand pat.
Even if they’d wanted to make an overture for an available player on another team – there had been rumors linking them to Tampa Bay’s O.J. Howard, Washington’s Trent Williams, and Cincinnati’s Tyler Eifert – the Pats were always going to be hamstrung by their lack of cap space. Because Belichick is New England’s GM as well as its head coach, he understands better than most other NFL figures how important it is to balance a desire to win now while still abstaining from “selling the family farm.”
At the end of the day, the Patriots probably have enough pieces as is to make a deep postseason run and challenge for another Super Bowl title. They shipped Michael Bennett off to Dallas in what essentially amounts to a salary dump, and their major transaction this week already happened last Tuesday when they traded for Mohamed Sanu.
Assuming N’Keal Harry comes back and joins the receiver rotation, Tom Brady should have plenty of weapons at his disposal for the remainder of this season. The offensive line will also benefit from the anticipated return of starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who has missed most of the year on IR with turf toe.
All this being said, the Patriots were anything but idle on Tuesday. According to SB Nation’s Bernd Buchmasser, New England informed kicker Mike Nugent of his release, then promptly signed Nick Folk to replace him. Nugent had originally been brought on in lieu of the injured Stephen Gostkowski, but he went just 5/8 on field goal attempts this season and 15/16 on extra point attempts.
Folk might not be much better, but perhaps he’s worth kicking the tires on. If he doesn’t work out either for the defending champs, Belichick may want to consider signing Matt Bryant, the longtime placekicker for the Atlanta Falcons. Bryant was unceremoniously dumped by the Falcons on Tuesday after he missed a pair of crucial kicks last Sunday against the Seahawks.
The Patriots also notified tight end Eric Tomlinson of his release. Tomlinson had been working in a dual capacity as both a tight end and a fullback for the team, but apparently his work the past two weeks was not enough to maintain a roster spot.
It appears the Pats will continue their fullback-by-committee approach for the foreseeable future, and rely on tight ends Benjamin Watson, Ryan Izzo, and Matt LaCosse for production at that position.
It should be noted that Izzo is still recovering from a concussion, and LaCosse is still working his way back from an MCL sprain in his knee. Both players missed the game against Cleveland with their respective ailments.