Bill Belichick will see if his offseason moves paid off when the Patriots open up their preseason slate this week. The exhibition excitement begins on Thursday night as New England hosts the Houston Texans.
While preseason contests are relatively meaningless for fans, they’re absolutely crucial for the players involved. After all, one preseason game can be the difference between a player making the 53-man roster and playing on the practice squad this fall.
Pats fans have a good idea of what the final roster will look like, but not everyone’s job is safe — veterans included.
Here’s a look at three Patriots whose jobs are on the line in this week’s preseason opener.
Patriots Roster Rumors
1. Nick Folk
Nick Folk has been a mainstay on New England’s special teams since he joined the team in 2019. He’s been consistent for the most part, hitting 89.3% of his extra points and 91.3% of his field-goal attempts during that stretch.
Having said that, Folk’s future is up in the air after an underwhelming finish last year. In his final eight games of the season, the ex-Arizona Wildcat only connected on 81.3% of his field-goal opportunities.
To any fans praying for a bounce-back showing: don’t hold your breath. For starters, Folk turns 39 in November, making it tough to envision a return to form at this stage in his career.
Secondly, New England didn’t use a fourth-round pick on Chad Ryland in April so that the rookie kicker could sit on the bench. Training camp reports have raved about Ryland not looking out of place whatsoever, further putting his veteran counterpart on the hot seat.
On top of that, Spotrac lists the Patriots as only being on the hook for $585,000 if they cut Folk. In other words, if he doesn’t have a flawless preseason debut, New England won’t hesitate to move on from the declining kicker.