FOXBOROUGH – In terms of making roster moves, the New England Patriots have been exceptionally busy in 2019. Even when disregarding the entire debacle with wide receiver Antonio Brown, the Patriots' roster has still seen a great deal of overturn, as injuries have plagued the offensive line. And special teams returner Gunner Olszewski continues to surprise fans by remaining on the team week after week.
One of the most notable shifts to the makeup of the Patriots roster came last week when it was revealed that Stephen Gostkowski, who had already been missing some extra points on the season, had a hip injury that was going to place him on the injured reserve and end his season. Even before this Patriots dynasty began, the Patriots have had a minimal amount of kickers. Since 1995, the only kickers on the Patriots roster have been Adam Vinatieri and Stephen Gostkowski. Shayne Graham had a short stint on the team in the second half of 2010, as well. But that's it.
For head coach Bill Belichick, the kicker position has been one of "set it and forget it." Now, he has to think more about it as the team signed Mike Nugent to replace Gostkowski, while also signing Younghoe Koo to the practice squad.
Nugent has been an NFL journeyman, recording seasons in New York with the Jets, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Cincinnati, New York with the Giants, Dallas, Chicago, and Oakland. In Sunday's game against Washington, Nugent missed an extra point, but he redeemed himself by making a field goal.
Additionally, it was announced last night that tight end Benjamin Watson, who came out of retirement to join the Patriots, had been cut by the organization. Watson was initially serving a four game suspension to start the season and, upon his activation, Belichick said there was not a roster spot for him and it led to him being cut. Watson took to Twitter to say he was "disappointed" and many fans are, too, that they will not see Watson's return to Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots finally got something out of the tight end position last week when Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse made contributions on the field, including a touchdown for Izzo. Perhaps the Patriots do not need Watson to succeed, but he is still a great guy and I wish him all the best.