FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots made a series of roster moves in anticipation of Tuesday’s mandatory NFL cut-down to a 75-man roster. The Patriots released three veterans - LB James Anderson, DL Tommy Kelly and DL Will Smith and rookie TE Justin Jones.
Anderson, 30, is a veteran of eight NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers (2006-12) and the Chicago Bears (2013) who signed with the Patriots as a free agent on June 4, 2014. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder originally entered the NFL as a third-round draft pick of Carolina out of Virginia Tech in 2006. He was released by Carolina on March 12, 2013, and was signed by Chicago as a free agent on March 24, 2013. Anderson has played in 110 NFL games with 69 starts and has registered 556 total tackles, 12 sacks, three interceptions, 23 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries
Kelly, 33, is a veteran of 10 NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders (2004-12) and the Patriots (2013). He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Raiders out of Mississippi State in 2004. Kelly was released by Oakland on March 27, 2013, and signed with the Patriots as a free agent on April 10, 2013. . The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder has played in 134 NFL games with 122 starts and has registered 442 total tackles, 36½ sacks, one interception, 15 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in his career. Last season, Kelly was limited to five games due to a knee injury, finishing with 23 total tackles, 2½ sacks and one fumble recovery.
Smith, 33, is a veteran of 10 NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints (2004-13) after joining the team as a first round draft pick (18th overall) out of Ohio State in 2004. The 6-foot-3, 282-pounder was released by the Saints on Feb. 12, 2014, and was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on May 5, 2014. Smith has played in 139 NFL games with 120 starts and has accumulated 457 total tackles, 67½ sacks, 25 passes defensed, two interceptions, 20 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. He has started in eight postseason games and added 22 total tackles, one interception and one forced fumble. Smith spent the entire 2013 season on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered during training camp.
Jones, 22, originally signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of East Carolina on May 12, 2014. He was released on Aug. 10 and then re-signed on Aug. 18. Jones was a three-year starter and finished his career with 52 receptions for 598 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 6-foot-8, 277-pounder was not eligible to play last season. As a junior in 2012, he played in 13 games with five starts and caught 25 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns.