With the Patriots and other NFL teams required to trim rosters from 90 to 80 by Tuesday, it is timely to revisit the rules regarding the physically unable to perform list and non-football injury list.
The Patriots have three players currently on the active/PUP list (running back Kevin Faulk and defensive linemen Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick) and one player currently on the active/non-football injury list (offensive lineman Marcus Cannon).
All four of those players currently count against the 90-man roster limit. They could start practicing at any time.
One aspect to watch with these four players, especially at this time of roster cutdowns, is the Patriots placing them on the reserve/physically unable to perform list and the reserve/non-football injury list. Those lists are essentially the same thing, the only difference that a player on the physically unable to perform list isn't ready to play because of something football-related, while a player on the non-football injury list isn't ready to play because of something that happened outside of football.
If the Patriots move these four players to the reserve/PUP or reserve/NFI lists, the players would no longer count against the 80- or 53-man roster limit.
At the same time, the players wouldn't be eligible to be activated to the roster until Week 7 at the earliest.
We already know the Patriots informed veteran safety James Sanders that they will be releasing him, while reports from the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and sports radio WEEI indicate that the Patriots have started trimming their roster in advance of Tuesday's deadine, with receivers Darnell Jenkins and Tyree Barnes and defensive end Clay Nurse among those being told they will be released.
So in addition to releases, keeping an eye on the movement on the PUP and NFI lists is something to monitor during these cutdown periods.