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Patriots Cutdown Day Diary; Surprise Cuts Sting



New England Patriots Inactive Report for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles

After an entire offseason of projecting the New England Patriots 53-man roster for the 2023 season, the time for projections has ended, and the results shall soon be in. The Patriots began cutdown day with 77 players remaining but not enough roster space for 24 of them. Seeing how things have gone over the year, it should be far from a dull deadline, whether there are any surprise cuts or not…

Following a pair of trades for offensive linemen yesterday (Tyrone Wheatley Jr., Vederian Lowe) and the release of veteran Carl Davis Jr., there was not much news out of Foxboro for most of the morning. It was reported that 2022 sixth-round pick Chasen Hines (OL, LSU) had been waived, but that was the bulk of the news until word broke that veteran kicker Nick Folk had been dealt to the Tennessee Titans for a future seventh-round pick.

Once practice was opened to the media, some clues began to surface about what moves the Patriots might be making. WR Tyquan Thornton, OL Riley Reiff, OT Connor McDermott, DB Isaiah Bolden, RB J.J. Taylor, and TE Anthony Firkser were all missing, in addition to Hines. Also out were DE Trey Flowers and ST Cody Davis, who are already on the PUP list. Thornton, Reiff, McDermott, and Bolden are all known to be suffering from various injuries, but those injuries affecting their roster status, at least in certain instances, are certainly going to be speculated on as the deadline neared.

Firkser was the first from that group confirmed to have been let go. This still left the Patriots with 21 roster reductions to make with less than an hour before the deadline.

A timeline of the news coming out of Foxboro:

3:13 – DL Jeremiah Pharms Jr. is released, according to his agents.

3:48 – OL Kody Russey is released.

3:58 – TE Matt Sokoal has been waived.

4:00 – DB Joshuah Bledsoe has been waived.

So the 4 PM deadline came and went, with 17 moves still unannounced. Ten minutes later, NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport broke the Patriots annual surprise cut:

The #Patriots have waived backup QB Bailey Zappe, sources said. A surprise.

– @RapSheet 

Zappe, who started multiple games for New England in 2022, and was seen to even have an opportunity by some to challenge Mac Jones for the Patriots’ starting QB job in camp, was shocking. McSorely had already been released, and UDFA Malik Cunningham, who saw more action as a receiver than a quarterback in camp, was suddenly Jones’ lone backup. At least it appeared that way at the time, but then…

4:21 – QB/WR Malik Cunningham is waived. This leaves the Pats with only one quarterback on the 53-man roster. Reports immediately surface that they are hoping to bring back both Zappe and Cunningham on the practice squad, though both would need to clear waivers first.

4:23 – WR Raleigh Webb is released.

4:27 – LB/ST Calvin Munson is cut. This is a mild surprise, only because he played so well in preseason. However, immediate reports indicate that the plan is for him to be added back to the 53-man roster as soon as tomorrow when players who make the initial roster can be placed on Injured Reserve.

4:31 – OL Andrew Stueber is cut, with the apparent intention to bring him back to the practice squad.

4:32 – WR Raleigh Webb is waived.

4:33 – RB Kevin Harris has been waived. This leaves J.J. Taylor (possibly already cut) and Ty Montgomery as the lone running backs remaining to potentially backup Rhamonde Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott (for now)

4:39 – RB J.J. Taylor seems to be confirmed as having been cut (he had been one of the players not seen at practice and had no known injury). Possibly the news was missed a bit earlier tbh.

4:41 – WR Thyrick Pitts is being waived. Following the Cunningham news, Pitts had been the last UDFA standing in New England.

5:12 – OL Bill Murray is waived.

6:49 – Patriots are placing both DB/ST Isaiah Bolden and OL Connor McDermott on Injured Reserve. Since this is done before the final 53-man roster cutdown, they will both be gone for the season.

6:50 – Final cuts of the day are finally made, nearly 3 hours after the deadline: RB Ty Montgomery, LB Joe Giles-Harris, LB Ronnie Perkins and OL James Ferentz. Both Trey Flowers and Cody Davis remain on the PUP list to begin the season.

At the end of the cutdown day, the Patriots are left with a roster obviously not yet finalized for Week 1, with only one quarterback and two running backs remaining. Over the next 24 hours, after seeing which players are claimed on waivers, who is moved to IR, and if any trades are made, the actual regular season roster should come into clearer view, though today was certainly a very interesting glimpse.

MISSING: Kevin Harris, Andrew Steuber, Trey Flowers, Cody Davis

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