FOXBOROUGH – Cutdown day has come and gone in Foxborough. The Patriots made a handful of roster cuts, parting ways with 24 players and placing two more players on injured reserve on Tuesday to bring their number down to 53 players. None of Tuesday’s moves brought the buzz that last year’s cutdown day brought when the Patriots released Cam Newton to make way for Mac Jones. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any surprising moves though.
Here are the most shocking cuts the Patriots made on Tuesday
The strong preseason performance from the fourth-year wide receiver wasn’t enough to make the initial 53-man roster, at least for now.
Humphrey was among the 24 Patriots roster cuts made on Tuesday after recording 13 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown over three preseason games. He also got some action at tight end throughout training camp and the preseason, so the Patriots’ decision to cut him is a bit more surprising considering that their only tight ends on the roster right now are Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
Lil'Jordan Humphrey coming up big down the field 🙌pic.twitter.com/UNuuPmSh1D
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 20, 2022
However, Humphrey could make his way back onto the Patriots’ roster in the upcoming days after getting cut. Rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton will likely be placed on short-term injured reserve after reportedly having surgery to repair a broken clavicle, which will keep him out for at least six weeks.
With one receiver going away for the interim, it’d make sense for the Patriots to add another receiver in Thornton’s absence. Humphrey would obviously fill that depth need and add another potential depth piece at tight end, too.
Despite getting cut on Tuesday, Humphrey made a strong impression on Bill Belichick and Mac Jones in the preseason, too.
“That was a player that we got late, wasn’t with us in the spring, signed him in July, or late June, whatever it was,” Belichick said of Humphrey following the Week 2 preseason win over the Panthers. “He’s coming off an injury last year, but he’s come in, really worked hard, and made a very positive impression here. We’re glad we have him.”
In addition to his potential versatility as a wide receiver and tight end, Humphrey made a standout play on special teams too against the Panthers.
This will be in every team’s Special Team meeting this coming week
“You guys want to know how to make the team?? When you guys are like ‘oh, coach what do you want me to do i’m getting doubled.’ Watch 83 here. You think he complains??” pic.twitter.com/vbQzXyhSiG
— Will Compton (@_willcompton) August 20, 2022
Tre Nixon could also be an option to replace Thornton. The 2021 seventh-round pick had a solid performance in OTAs and minicamp, but didn’t have as strong of an impact in training camp. Kristian Wilkerson was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, meaning that the Patriots would have to agree to an injury settlement and release him in order for him to play this season.
Typically, a backup offensive lineman getting cut wouldn’t draw too much of a shock. However, Hambright, an offensive guard, performed so strongly at the beginning of training camp and the preseason that he appeared on track to earn a roster spot.
Hambright was one of the early winners in camp of the 1-on-1 battles, putting up solid showings against the Patriots defensive line. He also showed versatility, too. Hambright played some left tackle in the preseason and held his own against the Giants.
Arlington Hambright was projected to and ultimately played guard for the Bears due to length concerns.
But we know NE doesn't put much stock into length at OT, and Hambright's looked comfortable at left tackle vs backups in the preseason.
Held up well against speed vs NYG pic.twitter.com/bunF6Xl9Qz
— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) August 22, 2022
However, that wasn’t good enough for the Patriots to keep him from being one of the roster cuts to get their number down to 53, apparently. New England opted to keep Yodny Cajuste, Justin Herron and Chasen Hines as its backup offensive linemen. Cajuste had a solid showing when taking first-team reps at right tackle when he replaced Isaiah Wynn for a bit during camp and the preseason. Herron didn’t fare as well, which makes it interesting that the Patriots cut Hambright when Wynn’s reportedly been on the trade block.
Hines, a sixth-round rookie, didn’t play in spring practice and missed the first half of training camp due to injury. The Patriots must like him enough though considering he’s the only true backup interior offensive lineman, with one of the starting guards being a rookie, too.
The Patriots’ decision to cut Taylor is a double-edged sword. Ty Montgomery went down with an unspecified injury during Friday’s game against the Raiders, in which he need to be carted off the field. Typically when the cart’s involved, the more severe the injury is.
However, the Patriots decided to cut the only other clear-cut option to replace Montgomery as the running back who can play as a receiver out of the backfield. So, either Montgomery’s injury isn’t too serious or the Patriots have confidence that one of Rhamondre Stevenson or Pierre Strong can perform well enough as a receiving running back. Similar to Thornton, the Patriots could also place Montgomery on the short-term IR on Wednesday and bring Taylor back later to replace him.
After Montgomery went down against the Raiders, Taylor showed his receiving ability in the limited reps he saw with the starters, recording two receptions for 22 yards. However, he rushed for only seven yards on three carries in that game. Taylor could also be in the mix for a practice squad spot, where he’s been a staple for much of his first two seasons in New England.