The Patriots veterans are most notable, but the organization also waived a pair of 2021 draft picks. Sherman was a sixth-round pick out of Colorado who appeared in 30 games during his collegiate career. Nixon was a seventh-round pick; the wideout split his collegiate career between Ole Miss and Central Florida, earning All-AAC honors in 2019.
Just as the Patriots took their two highest-profile players off the reserve/COVID-19 list, they placed three more players on it. Sony Michel, Shaq Mason and Derek Rivers landed on the list Saturday, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
Michel has tested positive, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). Mason and Rivers have not. Although Michel was on New England’s IR list, this is certainly a situation to monitor for the league. The NFL moved the Patriots’ Week 4 game to Monday after Cam Newton‘s positive test surfaced the previous Saturday and postponed the Denver-New England Week 5 game to the following Monday and then, after another Pats positive test emerged Sunday morning, delayed it another week.
Players do not have to test positive for the coronavirus to be placed on teams’ COVID lists; they can land on there if they are deemed close contacts of someone who has tested positive. The Pats took Newton and Stephon Gilmore off their list this week but still have multiple players on it. James Ferentz and defensive end Byron Cowart were already on New England’s COVID list.
Approaching 4pm CT Saturday, the Pats’ Week 6 game against the Broncos remains scheduled for noon Sunday. The NFL was aware of the team’s impending Saturday adjustment to its COVID list, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, the Pats did not resume practice until Thursday — after their game against the Broncos was moved off its Monday date — and canceled their in-person workouts Friday because of another positive test.
Michel has been on New England’s IR list since before their Week 4 game against the Chiefs; Mason missed Week 4 and was questionable for Week 6. The Pats will be down Mason and Ferentz from their starting O-line on Sunday, should the game remain scheduled. Rivers has played 21% of the Patriots’ defensive snaps this season; the defensive end has 1.5 sacks.
This four-receiver group will join a Pats team that both did not draft a wideout and one that rosters a soon-to-be 34-year-old Julian Edelman and a soon-to-be 31-year-old Mohamed Sanu. The latter is entering a contract year.
None of the rookie quartet put up standout career numbers. Thomas, who is 5-foot-10 and 174 pounds, left school early. He surpassed 16 yards per catch in two Hurricane seasons. Zuber transferred from Kansas State but barely eclipsed 200 receiving yards at Mississippi State. The 5-8 Riley served as the Orange’s kick and punt returner. Hastings, who is 5-10 and averaged 20.2 yards per catch as a junior in 2018, will see $57.5K of his rookie deal guaranteed, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).
Harris finished his Razorbacks career with three straight 100-plus-tackle seasons and will see a sizable portion of his rookie deal guaranteed. The Pats are guaranteeing $140K of Harris’ contract, per NESN.com’s Doug Kyed (on Twitter). Bryant will receive a $50K guarantee, Kyed adds (via Twitter).
Taylor goes only 5-6, but he surpassed 3,000 rushing yards with the Wildcats in four seasons. While he only topped 30 receptions in one of those (2019), his 2018 season featured 1,434 rushing yards. Berry and Burt bring New England’s rookie tight end total to four, coupling with the two third-round picks the Pats used at the position. The two combined for just 40 career receptions.