After releasing seven players over the weekend, the Patriots now have until 4 p.m. on Tuesday to reduce the active roster to 65 players.
The current roster stands at 73 following Saturday's release of DL Daniel Benetka, TE Jabari Holloway, FB Scott Dragos, WR Scott McCready, LB Ryan Phillips, CB Tony Scott and P Tony Umholtz.
Included in the 73 players though are three players that have NFL Europe exceptions, meaning that the three don't count towards the active roster until the cut down to 53 players on Sept. 1. The three players with exemptions until the final cut are LB Maugaula Tuitele, C Pat Downey and DE Radell Lockhart.
Monday morning, the day before the first mandatory cuts, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said that the team didn't have any more transactions to announce prior to the Tuesday deadline, but that that could change at any time. He said he understands that some players can get anxious around the time of cuts, but that usually players know what type of situation that they are in and the competition that results. He also said that pre-cut anxiety isn't necessarily focused on the head coach either.
"I don't think it is me that they are staying away from," Belichick said. "They are staying away from the two guys that come to get them. They know that those are the guys that you want to stay away from. That was my job my first year in the league. I was 'Bad News Billy.' They knew when they saw me coming that that is not a guy they wanted to see. The head coach could be around them all he wanted and it didn't really matter, but when I came and got them they knew what that was for."
"Players realize every day that they are being evaluated every day. Every snap is important. Every practice is important. They need to go about it with that kind of attitude to preserve their standing in competition."
And when asked about the best way to break the bad news to a cut player, Belichick said that honesty is the key. Players may be upset at first, but being cut doesn't necessarily mean the end in terms of a player's career.
"I think the best thing to do is to be honest with the player and tell them what the truth of the situation is," Belichick said. "There are a lot of people that are playing for us that were released by other teams. You are not necessarily ending a career, but it is definitely taking a turn. Sometimes it is a turn for the better, sometimes it isn't."
"There is a roster limit. If we could keep 60, we'd keep 60. We can only keep 53."
Belichick went on to say that over the course of his 28 years in the league he has seen a wide array of emotions in response to being cut. The news hits different players in different ways, and in the end nobody likes to be rejected.
"That's the hardest part of this job," Belichick said. "We go to camp with 80 players and we are only going to be able to keep 53. I mean I am firing 27 guys. There is no way around it, that's just part of the job. It's not a fun part of the job, but it's a necessary part of the job."
So regardless of how you rationalize it, at least five additional players may be out of a job come 4 p.m. Tuesday. It is without a doubt a part of the game, but that doesn't make it any easier on everyone involved.