New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has some hard choices to make this week, as the team makes final roster cuts for the 2023 season. He’s already addressed some concerns, such as offensive tackle. But what else is left to do?
Plenty. Here are seven tough decisions that Belichick is going to have to make over the next day and a half as he cuts down the Patriots’ roster…
Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker are likely in, and any trade involving them would qualify as a surprise. JuJu Smith-Schuster, in. Complicating matters, in a good way, is the emergence of the two rookies, Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas.
Douglas consistently impressed throughout the summer, and despite a reported minor shoulder injury, he should be safely on the initial 53-man roster. Boutte, meanwhile, overcame a quiet start to camp to stack days over the final few weeks. Boutte barely played in the preseason finale, an indication he’s shown enough to make the team.
Here’s where Belichick’s decision could be made easier: Tyquan Thornton continues to miss practice with a shoulder injury. The Patriots would need to name Thornton to the 53-man roster first, in order to make him eligible to return from injured reserve. Thornton has had a disappointing summer, but still has too much upside to outright cut, so we expect him to either stay or be traded.
At the very least, Belichick would need to cut someone at another position to accommodate six wide receivers on the initial roster. He could arrange something to release a player, then bring him back after taking care of the procedural stuff. The situation reflects an interesting Patriots wide receiver depth chart, which doesn’t contain a surefire No. 1 star, but six players that are too good to cut.