On Aug. 26, NFL teams will have to trim their rosters from 90 players to 75; the final cut to 53 players will take place on Aug. 30. Much of the New England Patriots‘ roster is beginning to sort itself out, but there is still a logjam at wide receiver. Julian Edelman (led the Patriots in receptions in 2013 with 105), Danny Amendola (even though he’s often injured) and Brandon LaFell (provides size) seem to have three of the roster spots locked up. Second-year receiver Aaron Dobson (currently coming back from a foot injury) will most likely be named to the 53-man roster as well. Most NFL teams carry only six wide receivers, so (doing some quick math) that leaves two roster spots available.
Another second-year receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins, is probably in the driver’s seat for the fifth wide receiver spot. He’s proven he can make plays (even if he needs to be more consistent), and he’s making the league minimum. It’s hard to believe the Patriots would cut him when none of the other “on the bubble” receivers have truly set themselves apart. Third-year receiver Brian Tyms has possibly outplayed Thompskins in the preseason, but Tyms is suspended for the first four games of the season. More than likely an injury or a receiver failing to prove themselves will allow Tyms to be added to the roster once he’s done serving this suspension. The Patriots maybe even cut Tyms and go all “sneaky, sneaky” (points for Mr. Deeds fans who get that reference) and add him to the practice squad. Also, don’t forget about Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater, who is also a wide receiver. He’s in the mix too, mainly because he is a big contributor on special teams. Which wide receiver is in serious doubt to make the 53-man roster come Aug. 30?
Josh Boyce will probably be left on the outside looking in at final cut time. Boyce was inconsistent in his rookie season in 2013 (nine receptions for 121 yards and zero TDs), and he has failed to light it up this preseason. It doesn’t look like the Patriots are planning on using him in the return game, and simply put, he hasn’t done enough to make the Patriots’ coaching staff believe he is a must-keep player. Boyce also works best out of the slot, and the Patriots already have multiple slot receivers who produce more and are far more consistent than Boyce.
The Patriots’ receivers, including Boyce, have probably not done enough to convince Bill Belichick and company that the Patriots need to keep seven receivers on their roster this season, and Boyce probably shouldn’t be surprised if he’s looking for a new team come Aug. 30.