The Patriots now have three open roster spots on their 90-man roster one week before the start of training camp practice.

The team announced on Thursday that it had released undrafted rookie linebacker CJ Johnson and veteran long-snapper Christian Yount, leaving 87 players under contract. 

Johnson played middle linebacker at Ole Miss last season after beginning his career as a defensive end. In his collegiate career, he tallied 180 tackles, 13.5 sacks and three picks in 51 games. 

Yount was signed in April in order to give the Patriots some depth at the long-snapper position. He is a veteran of four seasons with the Bucs and Browns, but he has not played in a regular-season game since 2014. 

Yount's release is a good sign for the Patriots that second-year long-snapper Joe Cardona will be available for training camp. 

Cardona, a graduate of the Naval Academy and an active service member, will need permission from the Navy in order to participate with the Patriots throughout the 2016 season. As a rookie, the fifth-round pick was able to play in all 16 regular-season games and both postseason games, spending his off-days working at the Naval Preparatory Academy in order to fulfill his commitment.

This offseason, Cardona made his way to Norfolk, Virginia to live there for about two months to participate in the Navy's Basic Division Officer Course, or "BDOC," which was required before he could report to his ship as a Surface Warfare Officer. From there, he went to Bath, Maine, to work on the USS Zumwalt.  He was present for mandatory minicamp but did not participate during organized team activities -- which are optional -- this spring.


The Patriots could end up with one more open roster spot in the near future should safety and special teamer Nate Ebner end up on a reserve list as he participates in the Rio Olympics as a member of the USA Rugby Men's Sevens team. 

Patriots veterans will report to training camp on July 27, and the first day of open practices will take place on July 28.