- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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The Patriots have officially activated cornerback Aqib Talib and promoted practice squad wide receiver Greg Salas to the active roster, a league source confirms. In corresponding roster moves, the team waived veteran wide receiver Deion Branch and defensive back Malcolm Williams.
The team received a roster exemption for Talib on Monday after he served the final of a four-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing substances, and he has been present and practicing with his new team throughout the week.
Salas was also acquired via trade earlier this season, but was waived by the team after Week 2 and subsequently signed to the practice squad. With receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd listed as questionable for Sunday, the team is thin at the position. Branch was also questionable with a hamstring injury.
It's the second time that Branch has been let go by the team this season, as he was amongst the players cut prior to the finalization of the 53-man roster at the conclusion of training camp. He was later re-signed when the team waived Salas, and has nine catches for 80 yards in seven games this season.
Williams, originally a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2011, was recently promoted to the active roster from the practice squad. He was active for the team's Week 8 game against the Rams in London, playing as a core special teams player. If he clears waivers on Monday, Williams will become a free agent and is eligible to be re-signed to the team's practice squad.
Tom E. Curran of Comcast Sports Net first reported the transactions.
The Patriots had one other transaction, releasing receiver Jarred Fayson off their practice squad.