The day is almost here for NFL teams to cut their rosters down from 80 to 53 and the New England Patriots have already started.
On Monday, reports spread about several players who would not be a part of the 52-man roster for the season opener against the Miami Dolphins. Rookie WR Tre Nixon is one of them, per multiple reports.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport had it first:
Nixon had a special place in the hearts of Pats Nation because he was the last recommended pick by legendary scout Ernie Adams.
How Did Tre Nixon Get Cut?
The Patriots’ receiver group is voluminous even though it isn’t stacked with talent. Free-agent newcomers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne along with Jakobi Meyers are the only locks. The rest of the receivers on the roster have been in a battle for the final 2-3 spots available.
N’Keal Harry had a great summer, though he failed to show much during the 2 preseason games he played before being injured in the second exhibition against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Gunner Olszewski made the Pro Bowl as a punt returner in 2020, but he has struggled mightily with drops in training camp and on Sunday night against the New York Giants. Patriots rookie QB Mac Jones was seen barking at Olszewski after he ran the wrong route.
Practice-squad holdovers from 2020 Kristian Wilkerson and Isaiah Zuber had their ups and downs, though the former showed better overall. Unfortunately, as it relates to Nixon, he distinguished himself the least of all the players in the aforementioned group.
The Patriots are likely to head into the regular season with Agholor, Bourne, Meyers, Harry, and either Olszewski or Wilkerson. It might seem strange to see a team carry just five receivers, but New England plans to use two tight ends frequently this season while also splitting guys like James White and J.J. Taylor out wide to become weapons in the passing game.
That versatility and Nixon’s inability to show the impact of his speed–which is his best attribute–is what made him expendable.
While the Patriots cut Nixon, there is a chance he could still be a member of the roster as a part of the practice squad. Because he didn’t draw a ton of attention on draft day (lasting to the seventh round), nor did he show well in preseason, he should clear waivers and be eligible to land on the practice squad.
Other Patriots Who Were Released
Defensive back Adrian Colbert and defensive lineman Bill Murray were the other Patriots released on Monday. There will be a slew more on Tuesday when the roster has to get down to 53.
With those three releases, the Patriots are now at 77 players. Colbert took to Twitter to post a heartfelt message to the Patriots organization and specifically naming Devin McCourty and Adrian Phillips.
I’m not sure if he’s calling it a career, but what a heck of a statement about his character and that of the men who helped to make him a better football player and man.
Tuesday could be a wild one as the Patriots could also be completing trades and signings along with more releases. The key is to get to 53, no matter how you arrive at the number. Stay tuned.
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