New England Patriots

Mike Pennel of the New England Patriots looks on during the preseason game between the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

The Patriots have reportedly informed defensive tackle Mike Pennel that they are releasing him. Mike Reiss was first to report the news via Twitter on Monday.

Formerly with the New York Jets, Pennel signed with the Patriots as a free agent in March. Initially he looked like a near-certainty to make the 53-man roster as at least a rotational interior defender.

Instead, other players outperformed Pennel on their way to jumping him on the depth chart. Danny Shelton got better as the summer went along and appears primed for a lead role defending the run. Rookie fifth-round pick Byron Cowart out of Maryland has played well in the preseason and carries big potential as a former five-star recruit.

The Patriots have shaped their front-seven personnel around more 3-4 looks, which Pennel projected to fit well. He simply looks like the odd man out, especially with trade addition Michael Bennett getting snaps on the inside. Here’s what the projected interior defensive line depth chart looks like now:

Lawrence Guy
Danny Shelton
Adam Butler
Byron Cowart

With two weeks to go until most teams’ season openers, Pennel will have a chance to sign elsewhere with his early release. The Patriots also parted ways with defensive end Keionta Davis and wide receiver Maurice Harris over the weekend.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at