The Patriots made 23 roster moves Friday night to get down to the limit of 53 players, but it was a near-certainty that coach Bill Belichick wasn’t done tinkering with his team.
On Saturday, he showed that he certainly wasn’t. New England acquired receiver Greg Salas from the Rams for what ESPN reported was a late-round draft pick in 2015; claimed interior lineman and former Boston College standout Matt Tennant off waivers; and released veteran linebacker Bobby Carpenter.
And there is reason to believe the Patriots aren’t done; they still would like to add a fullback.
The release of Carpenter was the surprise move. Signed as a free agent in April, the 29-year-old was thought to be a top backup on the linebacking unit, particularly on the strong side behind rookie Dont’a Hightower.
With the team cutting ties with Carpenter, a first-round pick in 2006 who has underachieved given his draft status, there is not much depth at the spot. Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, and Hightower are the starters.
Bringing Salas in the fold made sense: as a fourth-round pick of St. Louis last year, he worked with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who spent 2011 in the same role with the Rams.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 209-pounder, drafted out of Hawaii, played in six games as a rookie, with 27 receptions for 264 yards, before a broken fibula ended his season.
Salas set several school records at Hawaii, and played primarily in the slot. This year during training camp he was getting work on the outside, but according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, he fell out of favor with the new coaching staff.
Tennant, a fifth-round draft pick of the Saints in 2010, played in 28 games (no starts) over his first two seasons. New England got an up-close look at the 6-4, 300-pounder when New Orleans was in Foxborough for joint practices during training camp, and when the guard/center was cut Friday, the Patriots swooped in.
The team signed seven players to the practice squad, one under the limit: OL Thomas Austin, FB Eric Kettani, WR Sam Kirkland, OL Matt Kopa, TE Alex Silvestro, LB Jeff Tarpinian, and DB Malcolm Williams.
All but Kirkland have previous experience with the Patriots. A rookie free agent out of Kent State, Kirkland was in camp with the Redskins. He is listed at 6 feet, 190 pounds.