In anticipation of the new NFL season, NFL teams must trim their roster size down to a maximum of 80 players from the previously allotted space of 90 players on Tuesday afternoon. The New England Patriots got a bit of a head start on Monday afternoon, as they announced the release of 11 players from the roster.
On Monday, the Patriots parted ways with free safety James Sanders, long snapper Matt Katula, tight end Garrett Mills, cornerback Jonathan Wilhite, defensive lineman Kade Weston, wide receiver Tyree Barnes, wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, cornerback Malcolm Williams, kicker Chris Koepplin, defensive end Clay Nurse, and offensive linemen Mark Wetterer.
Most of the cuts by Bill Belichick and company made perfect since for the exception of Sanders. Sanders has been with the Patriots for six seasons and has been a very effective rotational safety. In his career with the Patriots, Sanders has totaled 300 total tackles and eight interceptions in his six seasons with New England. Sanders will now give way to Sergio Brown and James Ihedigbo as complimentary safeties to Brandon Merriweather and Patrick Chung.
The other notable cuts made by Belichick were Katula and Wilhite. Once considered a lock to make the team, Katula struggled throughout training camp with his long snapping duties and it appeared that Bill Belichick thought that Katula's roster spot could go to better use. Wilhite on the other hand was in a tight battle with Darius Butler for the fifth cornerback slot. Wilhite did have a case for making the roster until he suffered an injury in Saturday night's 34-10 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Malcolm Williams was an unfortunate but necessary cut. Williams was chosen in the seventh round of the 2011 draft by the Patriots in hopes that he could help out on Special Teams.
In additions to the cuts, the Patriots actually signed on three more players on Monday. They agreed to terms with wide receiver/kick returner Tiquan Underwood, safety Ross Ventrone and long snapper James Dearth. They figure to have a tough time making this quickly changing roster.