With roster spots dwindling and 10 picks in next month’s draft, the Patriots cleared three spots Tuesday, waiving kicker Justin Rohrwasser and linebackers Cassh Maluia and Michael Pinckney.
Rohrwasser (fifth round) and Maluia (sixth) were drafted last year, while Pinckney was signed as an undrafted free agent.
The first kicker selected in the 2020 draft, Rohrwasser was criticized shortly after he was picked for having a tattoo of the Three Percenters, a group that has been condemned by some as a white supremacist organization. Rohrwasser denied knowledge of, or support for, the group and said he believed the logo represented support of the military. He later had the tattoo removed.
Rohrwasser, who played collegiately at Marshall, had an abysmal camp and the Patriots brought in Nick Folk midway through the summer to compete. Folk won the job and Rohrwasser, who was cut after camp, spent the season on the practice squad. Folk, who finished the season by hitting his final 26 field goal attempts, was re-signed for 2021.
The Patriots also have kicker Roberto Aguayo on the roster.
Maluia yo-yoed between the active roster and the practice squad in 2020, while Pinckney was a practice squader. Pinckney served a six-game league suspension for using a banned substance and was reinstated in January.
The recent signings of Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy, and Raekwon McMillan, plus the return of Dont’a Hightower, likely squeezed Maluia and Pinckney out of the linebacker mix.