When WR Brian Tyms signed with the New England Patriots in July, few fans even knew who he was. Fast forward to August 16, and he has quickly become the talk of camp. He has turned lots of heads, especially in preseason games thus far, catching eight passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games combined.
Although he has been very impressive so far, the question is what to do with him when the 53-man roster needs to be finalized? The first thought you might have is to put him on the practice squad. The only problem is to do that, he needs to be cut and then he must clear waivers.
Given what he has done in preseason games thus far, and his impressive size-speed combo (he is 6-foot-3 and runs a 4.48 40-yard dash), the odds of Tyms clearing waivers probably aren’t very good.
With that said, there is still another option for the Patriots to consider. They could give him a spot on the 53-man roster. Luckily for them, he will have to serve a four-game suspension at the start of the season for testing positive for Adderall. The suspension means that if he were to make the team, he wouldn’t count against the 53-man roster until Week 5.
Unfortunately, there is a negative in choosing this option. If the Patriots chose to activate him in Week 5, they would have to cut a player in order to bring him back. That decision would probably have to come at the expense of another WR since they would have a logjam at the position.
As of right now, Aaron Dobson, Brandon Lafell, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins stand in the way of both playing time and a roster spot for Tyms. Lafell and Dobson are virtual locks to make the team. The Patriots would get slapped with a $3 million cap charge if they were to cut Lafell, and Dobson is a high draft pick from last year. Thompkins and Boyce may not be so fortunate though..
If the Patriots were to cut Thompkins and Boyce, it would open up a spot for Tyms as the Patriots probably won’t be willing to carry eight or more WRs. However, whether they would be willing to do that is unknown at this point. Boyce is probably a good bet to stick around too given his value on special teams, but he isn’t a lock by any means.
An injury to one or more WRs between now and Week 5 could alter the picture though. Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, in particular, have struggled with durability issues throughout their careers. Should any of the Patriots’ wide receivers get hurt, Tyms could step in, thereby buying more time to prove his worth and fill a roster spot.
Ultimately, the Patriots will have a very tough decision to make in the coming weeks. They could either cut him, hoping he clears waivers so he can be placed on the practice squad, or give him a spot on the 53-man roster. The latter might be more worthwhile given the circumstances. In order to do that, the Patriots would have to cut two players between Weeks 4 and 5 assuming they keep a full roster.
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