The NFL Trade Deadline is not for another five days. But the New England Patriots have already made an addition to their wide receiver room. Wide receiver Jalen Reagor signed with the Patriots 53-man roster from their practice squad.
Due to the NFL “elevation rules” regarding practice squad players, this was the only way to keep Reagor eligible to play in games. Practice squad players can be elevated to game day rosters up to three times. After that the player needs to be added to the 53-man roster to play in an NFL game. Since Sunday’s game against the Bills was Reagor’s third elevation, this move was a necessity.
The Patriots waiving Malik Cunningham earlier this week (later signed back to the practice squad) paved the way for this move. In essence, New England ended up having Jalen Reagor and Malik Cunningham switch places from the practice squad and 53-man roster.
Once a highly touted prospect coming out of TCU, the 24-year-old Reagor landed near the top of wide receivers ranking as he prepared to turn pro. The Philadelphia Eagles selected him at 20 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, one pick before the Minnesota Vikings selected All-Pro Justin Jefferson. Reagor failed to live up to expectations in Philadelphia. He then spent the 2022 season with Minnesota. Signing him to the practice squad this season was a low risk, high reward gamble by New England.
Reagor has been contributing on special teams the past two weeks. He was largely a return specialist last season for the Vikings. Clearly Bill Belichick feels Reagor has done enough to earn both more playing time and a roster spot.
Against Buffalo, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was inactive, still recovering from a concussion. Rookie Kayshon Boutte was also inactive for the game, as he has been since the season opener. This left the New England Patriots wide receivers as Kendrick Bourne, Demario Douglas, Tyquan Thornton, DeVante Parker and Reagor. New England uses Ty Montgomery as a wide receiver at times as well.
Jalen Reagor saw his first offensive snaps of the season against the Bills. He played 25 snaps (42%). He was a willing and able blocker, which Bill Belichick has always valued in wide receivers. His block helped propel Douglas’ long gain on a jet sweep, the longest run for the Patriots this season. Reagor also hauled in his first reception of the season, a 11-yard gain to pick up a first down.
Jalen Reagor's first catch as a Patriot pic.twitter.com/BhI36X5uQJ
— Video from: @TSV__1 (@TSV__1) October 22, 2023
With the actual NFL Trade Deadline looming (Oct. 31) and the New England Patriots carrying seven wide receivers on the 53-man roster now, worth keeping an eye on to see how everything shakes out. But for now, the group of Patriots wide receivers will include a former first round pick looking for a fresh start in Foxboro.