The New England Patriots did something this week that we rarely see from Bill Belichick's team.
They protected four of their practice squad players from being signed by other teams.
ESPN's Mike Reiss reported the four names:
Teams often take chances on players from other practice squads late in the season. Some of these moves are to bring in players who could help next season.
The Patriots clearly wanted to make sure these four players were still available for their Week 18 regular season finale versus the Miami Dolphins, plus whatever playoff games New England has on its schedule.
It's no surprise the Patriots protected wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson after he tallied four receptions for 42 yards and two touchdowns in his team's Week 17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wilkerson could play a larger role in the offense next season if 2019 first-round pick N'Keal Harry doesn't return for the 2022 campaign.