The New England PatriotsPatriots were without three players at practice on Thursday. Tight ends Matt LaCosse (knee) and Ryan Izzo (concussion) were still nursing injuries while practice-squad defensive tackle Ufomba Kamalu was also absent.
On Thursday night, the reason for his undisclosed absence was revealed. The Baltimore Ravens signed Kamalu off the Patriots practice squad, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe.
Kamalu was acquired by the Patriots last November and subsequently placed on the practice squad. He was activated for the final two games of the regular season, recording one tackle in limited action. This past August, Kamalu was released during final roster cuts then resigned to the practice squad where he has remained all season.
During the preseason, the Patriots experimented with Kamalu as an outside linebacker. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound defensive tackle by trade surprised with his quickness off the edge and demonstrated an improved pass-rushing ability throughout training camp.
The move comes at an unfortunate time for New England. With Michael Bennett traded on the same day, Kamalu could have had a chance to be promoted to the active roster as an extra defensive lineman. Instead, he will be suiting up for a new team.
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Timing Isn’t a Coincidence
The Patriots play the Ravens in Week 9 at Baltimore. And with New England’s defense causing all sorts of problems for opponents this season, the Ravens acquired a player who may help reveal some trade secrets to besting the Patriots.
Baltimore also acquired free agent Jordan Richards earlier in the day too. Richards was released after the Patriots signed Justin Bethel, whom Baltimore released, to replace him.
Baltimore is currently in the midst of a bye week following a dominant road victory in Seattle. With time to integrate Kamalu into their defense, the Ravens can also figure out ways to jumpstart their offense with Lamar Jackson under center.
Jackson is shifty enough, but going against a zero blitz defense like New England employs could create some issues for the talented quarterback. Jackson will need to figure out ways to get around the Patriots’ pass rushers, and what better way to prepare than by bringing in a player who was part of that defense.
Even More Cap Space
The Patriots added an additional $2 million in cap space with the sale of Michael Bennett and increased their breathing room by about $200,000 with Kamalu departing.
It’s a tough loss for the Patriots, however, even with the additional cap room his departure created. Kamalu showed good versatility during his entire year-long tenure in New England and will now get a chance to do so with a Ravens team that has only recorded 12 sacks all season.
Kamalu’s interior pass rush is a unique skill set and his run-stopping ability has seen vast improvement since he began his professional career.
The Patriots were gearing up to possibly develop him into a rotational player either late this season or for next year but now will need to find another option. And finding someone with his size and athleticism in the same position won’t be easy.