FOXBOROUGH -- After Dane Fletcher tore his ACL in the Patriots's preseason opener against the Saints, the team's decision to waive the linebacker with an injury designation left the door open -- should he clear waivers -- to place him on injured reserve without using a roster spot.
There's an obvious risk, similar to one the Giants took after Jake Ballard tore his ACL in the Super Bowl (he was claimed by the Patriots), but when he addressed waiving Fletcher this morning, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was matter-of-fact about the thinking behind the decision.
"Any time that you remove a player from your roster, there's a certain number of ways that you can designate that player," Caserio said. "So we take all that information like we normally do and then we just move on."
Asked about the surprising nature of the move considering Fletcher had become a valuable and versatile part of the defense and special teams unit, Caserio said, "We made the decision that we made, and we're moving forward."
After waiving Fletcher and releasing receiver Britt Davis, the Patriots roster is at 88.
While he said that there are still several quality players available, Caserio denied reports that free agent tackle Chad Clifton is expected to come to Gillette for a workout.
"There's no truth to that," he said.
Caserio said Logan Mankins, who has practiced in shorts and shells, is close to participating in pads.
"Part of that is based on what the league rules are," Caserio said. "When the player becomes active off PUP, then he has X amount of days where he has to be in shells, then eventually he's able to put the pads on. So we might be a day or two away from that. But we'll make that determination each day to see where he is."
Asked if he was staying in contact with agents for Andre Carter, Caserio said he's continually talking with multiple agents, but that nothing's changed.
"I'd say with we're no different than we were a few months ago," he said.