Patriots sign nine to practice squad; is open spot for a QB?

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots announced nine signings to their practice squad on Sunday, leaving one spot open. Could that be for a quarterback?

It is no guarantee, even after the club traded No. 3 quarterback Jacoby Brissett over the weekend for receiver Phillip Dorsett. Coach Bill Belichick was non-committal when asked if he'd prefer to have a quarterback on the practice squad to add a third layer of depth.

Of the nine players signed to the practice squad, perhaps most important to the Patriots are Ted Karras and James Ferentz, as they provide depth at center. The team's three reserve offensive linemen are tackles.

Here's a look at who was signed to the practice squad:

  • LB Trevor Bates: The University of Maine alum entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft choice of the Indianapolis Colts in 2016, and landed on the Patriots' practice squad on Nov. 7, 2016. The 6-foot-2, 247-pound Bates has made the transition to an off-the-line linebacker role in the Patriots' system after playing a pure defensive role.

  • C James Ferentz: The son of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, he had spent the last two seasons with the Denver Broncos, appearing in 21 games, mostly on special teams. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound Ferentz entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa with the Houston Texans in 2014.

  • RB D.J. Foster: This is a coup of sorts for the Patriots to have Foster back after he spent most of the 2016 season on the active roster. He is a dual threat as a running back/pass-catcher, having put up big numbers at Arizona State, and given how much the Patriots value running backs who can catch the ball, he still has a chance to emerge.

  • DE Geneo Grissom: A 2015 third-round draft choice of the Patriots, he has appeared in 25 regular-season games and three playoff games over the last two seasons. His primary contributions have come on special teams, but with the Patriots a bit thin at defensive end on the active roster, he provides important depth at that spot.

  • WR Cody Hollister: The undrafted free-agent from Arkansas is the brother of tight end Jacob Hollister, the undrafted free-agent from Wyoming who made the initial 53-man roster. He was a top special teams player in college and also showed toughness and good pass-catching skills in the preseason.

  • S David Jones: The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Jones has a good physical makeup for the safety position, signing with the team as an undrafted free-agent out of Richmond. An injury early in training camp slowed his development, but earning a spot on the practice squad will give him a chance to make up that ground.

  • C/G Ted Karras: The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Karras was a 2016 sixth-round draft choice of the Patriots out of Illinois, and he served as a top interior backup last season. He appeared in every game, with one start. Durability is one of his calling cards as he made 43 career starts in college.

  • DT Darius Kilgo: A third-year player out of Maryland, the 6-foot-3, 319-pound Kilgo entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft choice of the Denver Broncos in 2015, appearing in nine games in his rookie season. He joined the Patriots practice squad on Dec. 10, 2016, shortly after he was waived by the Broncos.

  • S Damarius Travis: The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Travis signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota in May. He led Minnesota with 83 tackles as a senior in 2016, finishing his career with 53 games played (23 starts).