NFL roster cuts 2022: These new free agents could fit Patriots


With NFL rosters now trimmed down to 53 players, there are some interesting names available on waivers and on the free-agent market.

One team's trash could be the New England Patriots' treasure. The team should still look to add depth at several positions, particularly on offense as that side of the ball struggled throughout training camp and the preseason.

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So, which players cut from their team's 53-man roster could fit with the Patriots in 2022? Here are a few names that stand out.

Alex Leatherwood, OT

The Raiders' new regime waived Leatherwood, their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, on Tuesday after all 31 other teams turned down trade offers for him. A team undoubtedly will end up taking a chance on the 23-year-old tackle, so why not the Patriots? 

New England's offensive tackle depth is thin heading into the new season with several linemen dealing with injuries. The team also may be ready to move on from its own first-round tackle, Isaiah Wynn. If Bill Belichick and Co. believe a change of scenery could benefit Leatherwood, who served as Mac Jones' tackle at Alabama, it would make sense to give him a shot. It wouldn't be the first time Belichick has turned a player's career around.

Marlon Mack, RB

Mack was released by the Houston Texans on Tuesday, clearing the way for rookie running back Dameon Pierce to be their starter. Injuries have plagued the 2017 fourth-round draft pick over the last few seasons but reports out of training camp suggest he feels he's back to 100 percent. He could serve as a solid third option behind Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson on the Patriots' RB depth chart.

Mack rushed for 2,484 yards and 20 touchdowns during his five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2017-21).

Sony Michel, RB

Michel was the odd man out in a crowded Miami running back room as the Dolphins released the former Patriot on Monday. The two-time Super Bowl champion is coming off a solid season with the Los Angeles Rams in which he rushed for 845 yards and four TDs. He also was utilized more in the passing game than in years past.

A reunion with Michel could make sense if the Patriots want to bolster their RB depth.

Phillip Lindsay, RB

Sticking with the running backs, Lindsay is another veteran who could make an impact behind Harris and Stevenson. The former Pro Bowler hasn't been able to duplicate his standout 2018 rookie season, but he still belongs on an NFL roster as a formidable backup. He rushed for 2,550 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 17 TDs in 42 games during his three seasons with the Denver Broncos (2018-20).

Duke Johnson, RB

The fourth and final veteran RB on the list, Duke Johnson could be a candidate to fill the void left by retired pass-catching back James White. The 28-year-old caught at least 40 passes for 400 yards in each of his first five NFL seasons (2015-19). Injuries have limited him the last couple of years, but he showed with a strong preseason he could be a difference-maker when healthy.

Tyler Johnson, WR

Johnson couldn't fit on the Bucs' roster due to the amount of depth they have at the receiver position. The 2020 fifth-rounder was one of Tom Brady's most consistent contributors last season as he appeared in all 17 games, reeling in 36 catches for 360 yards. He also was on the field for 52 percent of the Bucs’ offensive snaps and 19 percent of their special teams snaps. Drops have been a problem, but the former Minnesota star offers serious upside if the Patriots are willing to give him a chance.

OJ Howard, TE

Howard didn't make the Buffalo Bills' 53-man roster after signing with them during the offseason. The 2017 first-round draft pick simply hasn't been able to live up to his draft spot, but the Patriots are noticeably thin at tight end behind Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith heading into the new campaign. Howard makes sense as a No. 3 option on the depth chart who could be even more important if Smith fails to have a bounce-back year.

Logan Ryan, CB

There's a strong chance the Bucs pick Logan Ryan back up after releasing him on Tuesday. But if not, a reunion with the ex-Patriots DB makes all the sense in the world. His familiarity with Belichick's style, plus his veteran presence in the secondary certainly couldn't hurt.

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