New England Patriots

Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; A New England Patriots helmet rest on the sidelines during the first quarter of the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth,

The Patriots have added a veteran presence to their passing game for Sunday’s matchup with the Houston Texans.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the team is promoting Donte Moncrief from the practice squad for the game. Moncrief was originally signed to the practice squad on November 4. This is his first promotion of the season.

A third-round draft pick in 2014, Moncrief is the second-most longest-tenured receiver on the Patriots roster. Only Julian Edelman, who is currently on IR, has played in more NFL games.

In addition to overall NFL experience, Moncrief has an extra level of familiarity with the Houston Texans, having spent most of his career in the AFC South with the Colts and Jaguars. In eight career games against Houston, the 27-year-old has caught 16 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. His seven-catch, 76-yard performance against them in 2018 remains one of the best games of his career.

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Moncrief joins Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, N’Keal Harry, Gunner Olszewski, and Isaiah Ford as receivers on the Patriots active roster. Could Moncrief’s promotion mean one of those players may not be available on Sunday? Harry was added to the injury report on Friday with a shoulder injury and is questionable. Ford has been with the team for less than a month after being acquired at the trade deadline, and didn’t see a snap in his Patriots’ debut last week. They’d be the main candidates to be inactive among the receivers.

On top of the Moncrief move, the Patriots also signed defensive tackle Akeem Spence to the practice squad, per Reiss. A seven-year NFL veteran, Spence spent time with Eagles and Jaguars in 2019. The Patriots are his first stop this season.

For more on Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Texans, check out the Patriots Preview Podcast below:

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at