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New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: A view of New England Patriots helmets before the game between the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

The New England Patriots have finalized their initial 16-man practice squad for the 2021 season. None of the players waived by the Patriots during final roster cutdowns were claimed, which led to a number of players returning to New England for the practice squad.

The full practice squad is below, but scroll down for more information on the moves and the players signed. Players who spent 2021 training camp with the Patriots are denoted with an asterisk (*) below.

QB Brian Hoyer*
QB Garrett Gilbert
WR Tre Nixon*
WR Kristian Wilkerson*
TE Matt LaCosse*
FB Ben Mason
OL Alex Redmond*
OL James Ferentz*
OL Will Sherman*
DE Tashawn Bower*
DT Bill Murray*
DT Daniel Ekuale
LB Jahlani Tavai
CB Myles Bryant*
CB D’Angelo Ross*
K Nick Folk*

This list is developing and will be updated as more information arrives…

  • QB Brian Hoyer

    This is interesting: according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald, the Patriots are actually signing quarterback Brian Hoyer to the practice squad, instead of the 53-man roster.

    Unless you count former Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry, who has converted to a running back/wide receiver since coming to the NFL, the Patriots still have Mac Jones as the only quarterback on the main roster.

  • WR Tre Nixon

    The Patriots are shoring up their wide receiver depth on the practice squad. As reported by Mark Daniels, they are bringing back rookie Tre Nixon.

    Nixon became well-known in New England for being selected in the seventh round by Ernie Adams, who recently retired as the Patriots’ football research director. Nixon was Adams’ final draft pick with the team. So, Adams’ legacy lives on.

  • OL Alex Redmond

    The Patriots have nine offensive linemen on their initial 53-man roster, but they still need O-line help for the scout team offense. According to Mark Daniels, help is coming in the form of Alex Redmond, who signed with the Patriots in the 2021 offseason.

  • DT Bill Murray

    According to Doug Kyed, the Patriots are signing former William & Mary defensive tackle Bill Murray to the practice squad. This marks the second straight season that the Pats waived Murray before bringing him back.

    Murray was a strong candidate for the practice squad after a solid camp and preseason.

  • CB Myles Bryant

    The Patriots kept only eight defensive backs on their initial 53-man roster, so they’re prioritizing cornerback in the absence of Stephon Gilmore. According to Doug Kyed, they’ve brought back CB Myles Bryant to the practice squad.

    If not for decisions at quarterback and kicker, Bryant may have been the most surprising cut of the day on Tuesday. Of all the practice squad players, Bryant may turn out to have the best chance at factoring into the main roster.

  • TE Matt LaCosse

    The Patriots’ first signing to the practice squad was an experienced tight end, Matt LaCosse. Mike Reiss reported it first.

    LaCosse is now in his third season with the Patriots, and provides valuable depth to a position group that brought in talented reinforcements in the offseason. If Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, or Devin Asiasi have to miss time, LaCosse would be the next man up.

  • WR Kristian Wilkerson

    As first reported by Evan Lazar or CLNS Media, the Patriots are bringing back former Miami wideout Kristian Wilkerson to their practice squad.

    Wilkerson had an up-and-down camp, but made a strong final push for the 53-man roster. It was ostensibly enough to stick around in the event that more injuries pop up on the receiver depth chart.

  • CB D'Angelo Ross

    As first reported by Evan Lazar, the Patriots are bringing back another defensive back to their practice squad, D’Angelo Ross. He had a strong preseason finale with an interception in the end zone against Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

  • LB Jahlani Tavai

    According to Field Yates, the Patriots are signing former Lions linebacker Jahlani Tavai to their practice squad. Tavai becomes the first practice squad signing to come from outside the Patriots orgnaization.

    Tavai was the 43rd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and previously worked with Belichick assistant Matt Patricia while he was head coach in Detroit.

  • DE Tashawn Bower

    According to Evan Lazar, the Patriots are bringing back defensive end Tashawn Bower to the practice squad. They now have six more spots to fill.

  • FB Ben Mason

    According to Ian Rapoport, the Patriots are signing fullback Ben Mason to the practice squad. Interestingly enough, Rapoport added that a “quick elevation” to the main roster is “likely.”

    The Patriots already named fullback Jakob Johnson to their initial 53-man roster. We’ll see if Mason turns out to be a replacement, or just healthy competition.

  • K Nick Folk

    The Patriots are bringing back veteran kicker Nick Folk on the practice squad, per Field Yates. They’re going with undrafted rookie Quinn Nordin to start the season, betting on his upside. But Folk provides steady veteran insurance in the event that Nordin can’t find consistency kicking the ball.

    There’s also the possibility that the Patriots are waiting for other teams to figure out their kicker situations before waiving Nordin, minimizing the risk that he gets claimed.

  • OLs James Ferentz and Will Sherman

    According to a list provided by Mike Reiss, offensive linemen James Ferentz and Will Sherman are also among the Patriots’ additions to the practice squad.

    Ferentz quietly had a strong camp, but got squeezed out by Ted Karras for the backup center role and would be the next man up in the event of an injury on the interior. Sherman, a sixth-round pick out of Colorado, is a developmental prospect who had a good chance of passing through waivers and landing back in New England.

    This leaves the Patriots with just one more spot to fill on the practice squad. They have every position except running back. They had Tyler Gaffney on the roster earlier in the offseason.

  • DT Daniel Ekuale

    The Patriots announced Sunday that they signed defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale to the practice squad, finishing off their 16-man group. Ekuale played nine games with five starts for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020, and spent 2019 with the Cleveland Browns.