Caserio indicates trade winds could blow

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Caserio indicates trade winds could blow

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO - A GM shopping for that specialthird cornerback this roster-building season has two choices.

He can go out and try to swing a deal for the player he wants in the next few days. Or he can take his chances by kicking through the detritus of his fellow GMs on Tuesday when NFL rosters cut down from 90 to 80.

Patriots personnel man Nick Caserio pointed out Wednesday that trade conversations in advance of next Tuesday's cutdown will be frequent.

"Generally speaking, about this time of the year maybe even after the third preseason game teams will probably have a little bit more dialogue amongst themselves," said Caserio. "There will be some discussion back and forth. Teams might say, Were heavy here; were light here, so its more just, I would say, normal conversation. I would anticipate that some of the discussions, probably after the weekend, will probably pick up a little bit more, and I would say thats probably normal as it is any time of the year."

The Patriots, for instance, have a bevy of defensive linemen. Every team in the league knows some of them are going to be heaved overboard. So what's the harm in Caserio lifting the phone and calling a fellow GM about unloading a soon-to-be-cut Landon Cohen in exchange for a sixth-rounder in next April's draft? None. There is none.

Or you can try and hold up a team like the Giants by dangling a Jonathan Wilhite in front of their corner-hungry faces.

Ahead of the cutdown, scouts will be all over this weekend's games. The aim istrying to forecast which players will be cut by their current teams that could have use on their club. And then the race is on.

"It's a long night in the league office just to get to the names on the waiver wire," said Caserio, who divulged the league's decision to allow teams to cut to 80 players instead of the originally planned 75. "When those players are released, well go through the waiver wire and if there are any particular players that we want to investigate further then well do it.

"Its very similar to, I would say, what happens on that last Saturday of sort of the final cut down maybe not quite as extensive from a numbers standpoint, but theres still youll have the evening and the next day to figure out if you want to make a claim for someone? Is there a player that is terminated that maybe you want to bring in for a visit or a physical?"

It's the same process the Patriots go through withmost every unemployed player from Darren Sharper to Clinton Portis to T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

"There are two weeks left in the preseason," said Caserio. "Weve kind of started the process of organizing and kind of prioritizing some of the players that potentially could be available that may be able to add to our team."

And which ones they may make available to others. There will be some sleep missed by the scouting staffs around the league in the next few days, that's for sure.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)