Patriots Cut Four Players

FOXBORO -- The New England Patriots made their first move to reduce the roster from 75 to 53 today by cutting four players. DB Jeff Shoate, DL Steve Fifita, OL Jimmy Martin and TE Jonathan Stupar were released by the team.

P>Roster cuts are a way of life in the NFL and have the greatest impact on developmental players and aging veterans. Front offices are faced with making tough decisions to part ways with players who have been part of the organization, sometimes for years. For the Patriots, the first wave of roster reductions impacted players who haven't been with the team for long, or are competing for spot already full of talented players.

Jeff Shoate joined the Patriots as a free agent on August 9, 2008. The veteran cornerback was caught up in a roster battle at one of the team's more competitive spots. New England signed three free agent cornerbacks adding two more via the Draft.

Steve Fifita was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on May 5, 2008. The run stuffing nose tackle played for the Dolphins in 2007 participating in 13 games for Miami. Fifita was competing with Mike Wright, for the right to backup Vince Wilfork in the middle of the Patriots defense.

Jimmy Martin was signed by the Patriots as a free agent on February 5, 2008. Originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the seventh round (226th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft, Martin has been on and off the Patriots practice squad.

Jonathan Stupar was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 2, 2008. The former Virginia product is eligible to return as a member of a team's practice squad.

Rosters must be reduced to the maximum of 53 by the close of business Saturday. (4:00p.m.)

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