NFL cutdown day is fast approaching and the New England Patriots have already made a slew of cuts with more to come before the 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline.

Even though New England has until a specific time to get the roster to 53 players, Coach Bill Belichick shared some insight as to why the team cuts players early – it could help them land somewhere and get ahead of the players who are cut at the deadline.

“If we don’t have a spot for him here … maybe there is a spot for them somewhere else,” Belichick told reporters over Zoom on Monday. “We’re giving them the opportunity to get out there a little bit ahead of the pack and at least now they can start putting some feelers out and their agent can start to work on it.

“I know that the transaction doesn’t become official until later in the week. But when a player has been released, he has the opportunity to start to look and see if there is going to be a practice squad opportunity or something else somewhere else in the league,” he added. “For the guys that have come in and done all that we’ve asked them to do and worked hard, I hope they get another opportunity somewhere. I hope things work out for them somewhere else.”

Belichick also noted that he explains to each player why they got cut because he wants them to have closure. Players who aren’t roster locks come into minicamp and training camp ready to work in hopes to find a home for the upcoming season. While it doesn’t always work out, Belichick wants those players to know their work didn’t go unnoticed.

“I don’t want to not give those players at least the time and the courtesy of an explanation and the decision, a closure to it, if you will,” Belichick said on Zoom. “I think they deserve that based on what they’ve given me. When you try to do 37 guys in an hour, it can just feel dismissive of what the player’s effort and commitment has been. I want to recognize that because some of these guys have worked as hard as they could for the last however many months, in some cases years, and done all they could.


“… I’ve been on waivers myself a few times. So, I know what that’s like to be told, ‘You don’t have a place here’, and some of us end up somewhere else. It’s part of the process,” he continued. “Whether it’s the right or wrong thing to do, I don’t know. But I try to do the best that I can.”

The Patriots still have some interesting names that are worth watching what they do with – particularly rookie QB Malik Cunningham. New England released quarterback Trace McSorley on Monday, which didn’t come as too much of a surprise. But Cunningham has been intriguing all throughout camp, and it will be interesting to see what the Patriots ultimately decide to do.

ALL ON THE LINE: Less than two weeks away from their season opener, the Patriots’ offensive line is in shambles.

Left tackle Trent Brown and center David Andrews were the only starters available for most of training camp and the preseason. Their linemates are scattered across the trainer’s room.

Starting guards Cole Strange and Mike Onwenu continue to recover from lower-body injuries, with Onwenu undergoing offseason ankle surgery and Strange hurting his left leg during a July 31 practice. Onwenu made his practice debut last week in a limited capacity, and Strange has been out since his injury.

Will either be able to start against the Eagles on Sept. 10?


“We’ll see,” Belichick said Monday. “(We’ll) take it day by day.”

Projected starting right tackle Riley Reiff suffered his own leg injury in last Friday’s preseason finale against the Titans. Reiff walked off the field and out of the medical tent under his own power, but it’s unclear how much game time, if any, he might miss.

“Yeah, I think that’s what we’re going to have to wait and see on here,” Belichick said of Reiff’s timeline. “See how it progresses over the next few days and we’ll have a better read on it then.”

Reiff has also been playing right guard the last 2-3 weeks, while fourth-round rookie Sidy Sow transitions to right tackle and works with the starters. Sow’s elevation is partly tied to Calvin Anderson’s ongoing stay on the nonfootball illness list. Anderson, the team’s projected swing tackle, has yet to be medically cleared after practicing at both offensive tackle spots in the spring.

“Not sure. We’ll see how that goes,” Belichick said. “Again, we’ll continue to monitor his situation. When he’s medically cleared, we’ll have a decision to make.”

In light of all the injuries and uncertainty around the offensive line, the Patriots swung trades for ex-Browns offensive tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr. and former Vikings offensive tackle Vederian Lowe on Sunday. Wheatley has played both offensive tackle spots, and Lowe has spent most of the last year-plus at left tackle. Both players are career backups.


The Pats traded second-year running back Pierre Strong for Wheatley and sent a sixth-round pick to Minnesota in exchange for Lowe.
Asked if either offensive tackle could be expected to contribute right away, Belichick said Monday: “I don’t know. We’ll have to work with them and see how it goes.”

J.J. TAYLOR did his best to make it hard for the Patriots to cut him, even if the team felt there was a decent chance that he’d clear waivers and make it to the practice squad.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, the pint-sized running back should know his fate. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona in 2020, Taylor has spent quite a bit of time bouncing between the practice squad and 53-man roster during his three-year run with the team. Last season, he spent the bulk of his time was with the practice squad.

At 5-foot-6, 190 pounds, Taylor has constantly battled the notion that he’s too small to make it in the NFL. Watching him during training camp and the preseason, it’s been hard to ignore his shiftiness and ability to make plays with the ball in his hands.

A few years back, former Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears compared Taylor favorably to Dion Lewis, who did well as an undersized change-of-pace back for the Patriots for three seasons (2015 to 2017).

With the trade of second-year back Pierre Strong, that certainly enhanced Taylor’s chances to make it behind Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott.

“It would mean a lot (if I made it),” Taylor said. “It would mean my hard work is paying off, and working toward that everything that I’ve been dreaming about, everything that I’m striving for.”

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