The New England Patriots have made their first surprising roster move of the 2019 season, releasing a prominent veteran player ahead of the final preseason game.
Mike Pennel, a 28-year-old veteran defensive lineman, has been released by the Patriots.
The former Arizona State standout signed a two-year deal worth up to $8 million this past offseason. His tenure in New England lasts less than a year.
ESPN's Mike Reiss first reported the news.
Pennel was expected to be a key contributor to the Patriots' 2019 defense.
Other defensive linemen have stepped up more this preseason, though.
New England will likely start Danny Shelton and Lawrence Guy at defensive tackle. Adam Butler, Byron Cowart, David Parry and Ufomba Kamalu could also get consideration.
The Patriots are set to open the 2019 season on Sunday, Sept. 8 against Pittsburgh.
Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m. E.T. on NBC.