BOSTON (CBS) -- The New England Patriots have reportedly cut a trio of veterans on the defensive side of the ball.
The Patriots have parted ways with veteran defensive linemen Tommy Kelly and Will Smith, as well as veteran linebacker James Anderson and tight end Justin Jones.
The 33-year-old Kelly was a starter for the Patriots last season until a knee injury ended his year in early October. He underwent ACL surgery, and restructured his contract with the Patriots over the offseason, making him a candidate to be cut.
Smith missed all of last season with a torn ACL and signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in May after spending the first 10 years of his career with the New Orleans Saints. He was expected to be a depth player on the edge behind Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, but did not impress the coaching staff enough during camp and the preseason.
Anderson signed a one-year deal with the Pats in June after leading the Chicago Bears in tackles last season, and was supposed to add depth to the linebacking corps. But Anderson played sparingly, both on defense and special teams.
In releasing the veterans early, Bill Belichick is giving each of them a chance to sign on with another team ahead of the season. NFL teams are required to trim their roster to 75 players by Tuesday, and down to 53 players by August 30.
With the reported moves on Sunday, the Patriots are down to 84 players on their current roster.
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