The New England Patriots were forced to reduce their 90-man roster down to 75 men ahead of Tuesday’s mandated roster cuts. Obviously none of the moves made by the team outweighed the Logan Mankins trade, but their decision to release one rookie defensive back did spark some curiosity.
New England spent a sixth-round draft pick on cornerback Jemea Thomas of Georgia Tech. It was believed that Thomas would fight for a roster spot through the final preseason game based on speculation from those around the team. Perhaps an early injury in training camp was to much for the youngster to overcome. It appeared as if he was never able to bounce back.
Defensive tackle Ben Bass was also let go. The Patriots had traded cornerback Justin Green to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for Bass earlier this summer. Bass never found himself in a favorable position since arriving with the team and he’ll now be forced to seek work elsewhere.
The team also released a pair of wide receivers, Derrick Johnson and Wilson Van Hooser. Johnson was signed back in May out of the University of Maine. Johnson notched 60 receptions for 608 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. Van Hooser, also signed back in May, had 55 receptions for 805 yards and nine touchdowns at Tulane University.
Bill Belichick also cut linebacker Deontae Skinner and defensive back Travis Hawkins.
Running back Tyler Gaffney and linebacker Cameron Gordon were both placed on injured reserve. Gaffney was claimed off waivers after the Carolina Panthers decided to part ways with him earlier in training camp. Despite Gaffney’s injury, his prolific efforts at Stanford last season have the Patriots intrigued to find out what he can provide in 2015.
The Patriots will have to further trim their roster down to 53 by Saturday.