The Patriots have made another eyebrow-raising release as they cut their roster down to 53 players on Saturday. Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran is reporting that the team has decided to part ways with Geneo Grissom, a 2015 third-round pick out of Oklahoma.
Grissom was a valued special teams contributor in New England, appearing in 15 games as a rookie, using his combination of size and speed to be trusted in kick coverage as well as in the kick-return game. Patriots coaches worked with Grissom this summer on his ability to catch kickoffs in the event opposing teams tried to kick short with new touchback rules in place.
Defensively, however, Grissom had difficulty solidifying his spot as a defensive end. He played more defensive snaps than any other Patriots player during their four preseason games, and while he seemed to perform well with those snaps, he appeared to be behind Chris Long and Trey Flowers as depth pieces at that position. Grissom's lofty snap count may have also been due in part to the fact that Jabaal Sheard (knee) and Rob Ninkovich (triceps) have been injured and unavailable. The NFL announced on Friday that Ninkovich will be serving a four-game suspension to start the year.
It appears as though the Patriots are comfortable with the top of their depth chart at the defensive end position as ESPN's Mke Reiss has reported that the team has also released edge-defender Rufus Johnson as part of their final cuts.
While the investigation into the New England Patriots' illicit videotaping of the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline last weekend is ongoing, The Washington Post's Mark Maske is reporting that the punishment could be aligned in severity with similiar game-day violations committed by other NFL teams in recent years.
That means fines in the range of six figures and/or a reduced round value on a draft pick — or worse still, the loss of one altogether:
"The NFL is likely to penalize the New England Patriots for their admitted violation of league video policy last weekend and is contemplating disciplinary measures in line with those imposed on teams in recent seasons for infractions of game-day rules, according to people familiar with the deliberations.
That could mean a fine in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially the loss or reduction in value of a draft choice, typically a lower-level pick."
Looking for something similar to what the Patriots were levied for Spygate? Maske points out that punishment was clearly an exception, not a guardrail:
The Patriots have admitted wrongdoing in last Sunday's incident in Cleveland, in which a credentialed Patriots video crew member was caught filming the Bengals' sideline during their game against the Browns. New England has said the camera crew was there to feature a scout as part of their "Do Your Job" video series.
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Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and center Ted Karras, who were each listed as questionable with injuries, made the trip to Cincinnati with the team Saturday but backup defensive tackle Byron Cowart was downgraded to out with a concussion, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Edelman, the team's leading receiver, has been battling shoulder and ankle injuries. Karras, the starting center, missed the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday with a knee injury. Both were limited in practice this week.
The Patriots (10-3), coming off back-to-back losses to the Houston Texans and Chiefs, play the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m.