Nick Folk, who kicked for the Patriots last season after Stephen Gostkowski was lost for the season, was cut on Saturday. Steven Senne/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — After so much scrutiny on the quarterback position in New England this offseason, the biggest surprise on cutdown day came at kicker.

The Patriots released both veteran Nick Folk and rookie fifth-round draft pick Justin Rohrwasser, for now leaving the position open as they begin preparations for their Sept. 13 season opener against Miami.

The moves were among the 24 cuts made by the Patriots on Saturday to trim their roster to a league-limit 53 players.

New England will now go hunting in the waiver market for another option or could potentially re-sign one of the two kickers by making another transaction to free up a roster spot.

Rohrwasser began camp as the front-runner to replace Patriots all-time leader scorer Stephen Gostkowski following his release in March. But Rohrwasser suffered an injury in the second week of camp and struggled when he returned to workouts. Folk was signed on Aug. 24 and was the more consistent of the two the rest of the way.

Folk, 35, brought steadiness to the position last season after Gostkowski suffered a season-ending hip injury in October, connecting on 14 of 17 field goals and all 12 of his extra points in seven games. He said recently that finishing the season in New England last year made jumping into the training camp competition easier.

“It’s always nice to come back into a place where you played. You understand it. You kind of get the flow,” he said. “It makes my job that much easier.”

The Patriots began Saturday with 77 players on their roster after cutting ties with receiver Mohamed Sanu, cornerback Michael Jackson and defensive tackle Michael Barnett earlier in the week.

Cam Newton was chosen the starting quarterback on Thursday, but he will enter the season with both Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer behind him after both made the roster.

Much like Tom Brady last season, Newton will have a mostly young group of receivers to throw to. Joining veterans Julian Edelman and Damiere Byrd will be a trio of second-year players in N’Keal Harry, Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers, who beat out Devin Ross and Jeff Thomas for the final spots in the group.

Other players released Saturday were: quarterback Brian Lewerke; running backs Lamar Miller and J.J. Taylor; receivers Andre Baccellia and Isaiah Zuber; tight ends Paul Quessenberry, Paul Butler and Jake Burt; offensive linemen Tyler Gauthier and Ben Braden; linebackers Terez Hall, Caash Maluia and Scoota Harris; defensive linemen Tashawn Bower, Bill Murray, Nick Thurman, Rashod Berry and Xavier Williams; and cornerbacks D’Angelo Ross and Myles Bryant.

TEXANS: Deshaun Watson has agreed to a four-year, $160 million contract extension with Houston Texans.

“As a child growing up in Georgia, it was always my dream to play in the NFL,” Watson wrote in a post on Twitter. “Today, I couldn’t be more honored and humbled to sign a long-term deal in Houston, the city that I’ve grown to love so much and now call my home.”

The deal makes Watson the second-highest paid quarterback in the league, behind Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, who signed a 10-year deal worth up to $503 million in July.

Houston traded up to select Watson with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 draft. He has appeared in 38 games with 37 starts in his first three seasons with the Texans, providing stability at quarterback after years of problems at the position.

The 24-year-old threw for 3,852 yards and 26 touchdowns last season when he led the Texans to the divisional round of the playoffs. Watson has thrown for 9,716 yards and 71 touchdowns and ran for 1,233 yards and 14 scores in his three-year career.

COVID-19: Daily testing for COVID-19, except on game days, has been extended into the regular season by the NFL and the players’ union.

All players and other team personnel categorized in Tiers 1 and 2 will continue to be tested each day, a process that has worked relatively well for the league as it approaches the first game on Thursday night in Kansas City. With no testing on game days, the pregame coronavirus exams will be conducted on the day before the game and must be completed before a club travels.

NFL Players Association President JC Tretter of the Cleveland Browns recently called for a continuation of daily testing.

WASHINGTON: Alex Smith made Washington’s initial 53-man roster Saturday after final cuts were made, another significant step in his remarkable comeback 22 months since breaking his right leg.

Coach Ron Rivera said the veteran quarterback is on the team and there’s no plan to put Smith on injured reserve in the coming days. Smith might even be Dwayne Haskins’ backup in the season opener Sept. 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Smith’s career appeared to be in jeopardy when he broke his right tibia and fibula while being tackled during a game in November 2018. He underwent 17 surgeries to repair that damage, survived a life-threatening infection and was hospitalized for more than a month.

CHARGERS: Keenan Allen signed a four-year extension with the Los Angeles Chargers that will make him the league’s second-highest paid receiver in average money.

A person familiar with the deal says it is worth $80.1 million with $50 million guaranteed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because financial terms were not released by the Chargers on Saturday.

JETS: Joe Flacco passed his physical and will start the season on New York’s active roster as one of Sam Darnold’s backups.

The veteran quarterback, who signed with the Jets in May, had been on the active/physically unable to perform list throughout training camp while recovering from neck surgery. The Jets announced Saturday that Flacco was activated among the flurry of moves the team made to get down to the 53-player roster limit.

The 35-year-old Flacco joins rookie James Morgan, a fourth-round draft pick, and Darnold at the quarterback spot. David Fales was released and Mike White waived, leaving New York without the two players who took the second-team snaps at quarterback in camp.

DOLPHINS: Miami released quarterback Josh Rosen, who was acquired from Arizona in April 2019 for second- and fifth-round draft picks. He started three games last year, throwing five interceptions and one touchdown pass, and was the No. 3 quarterback behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tua Tagovailoa in training camp this summer.

Flores declined to say whether the Dolphins regretted trading for Rosen.

“The most important thing is to kind of move forward and not look back,” he said. “You don’t hit on every play, on every trade, on every draft pick. Show me a team that has hit on every one. I’ll applaud that team.”

The decision to cut Rosen signals the Dolphins are confident in the health of top draft pick Tagovailoa, who has returned from a career-threatening hip injury that ended his Alabama career in November.

BRONCOS: Denver released inside linebacker Todd Davis, its leading tackler in three of the last four seasons.

Coach Vic Fangio said Davis became expendable when the Broncos acquired a pair of veterans in Mark Barron and Austin Calitro, and he indicated Josey Jewell with start alongside Alexander Johnson in the team’s revamped inside linebacker corps.

RAMS: Los Angeles left space in its final roster cutdown to go shopping on the NFL waiver wire this weekend.

The Rams waived nine players on Saturday while also placing defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson on the reserve/non-football injury list and putting linebacker Travin Howard on injured reserve.

The moves trimmed the Rams’ roster to 52 players, one below the limit, with an interesting balance among several positions. Los Angeles kept four tight ends, five safeties and 10 offensive linemen, but only three inside linebackers.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville is going with another college journeyman and sixth-round draft pick as their backup quarterback.

General Manager Dave Caldwell and Coach Doug Marrone kept rookie Jake Luton to play behind Gardner Minshew as they finalized their 53-man roster Saturday. They cut veteran Mike Glennon and waived Josh Dobbs.

PANTHERS: Carolina waived running back Reggie Bonnafon as part of the several moves to get down to 53 players.

Bonnafon ran for 116 yards with a touchdown in 16 games last year and played a major role on special teams. However, Mike Davis won the No. 2 running back job behind All-Pro Christian McCaffrey, and Trent Cannon made the roster over Bonnafon as the third back.

TITANS: Outside linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. passed his physical and now is on Tennessee’s active roster.

The Titans also waived 27 players to trim the roster to 53 by the NFL’s deadline

RAVENS: Former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley survived Baltimore’s final cut and is poised to return for a second season behind Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III on the depth chart.

Baltimore’s initial 53-man roster, formed after Saturday’s moves, offered no real surprises. The Ravens appear stocked with veteran talent coming off a 14-2 season and with the addition of free agents Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe and D.J. Fluker.

Comments are not available on this story.