The Patriots had until 4 p.m. today to activate CB Aqib Talib for tomorrow's game against the Colts and they have done that.
Talib was acquired from Tampa Bay on Nov. 1, but only joined the team on Monday after serving a four-game NFL suspension for performance-enhancing substances.
Additionally, the team has promoted receiver Greg Salas off the practice squad.
Salas also came to New England via trade, after playing for St. Louis as a rookie last year. He was on the 53-man roster for the first two games of the season but has been on the practice squad since. However, Salas was making $465,001 as a member of the p-squad, a sign that the Patriots wanted to keep him around (most practice squad players make $96,900 for a full season).
To make room for the two players, the Patriots have released Deion Branch and Malcolm Williams.
Branch was added to New England's injury report on Thursday with a hamstring injury. Although he is a veteran, because it is after the trade deadline, he must go through waivers and can be claimed by any team. If Branch is claimed, a team must pay the remainder of his $925,000 salary for this season, or just over $326,000.
Released by the Patriots out of training camp, Branch was re-signed on Sept. 19 and had played in all seven games since, with nine receptions for 80 yards. He had a season-high four catches against Buffalo last week.
Williams, a special teamer, was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots last year; he was promoted off the practice squad on Oct. 27 but was inactive last week against the Bills.