by Scott Benson

Don’t worry – no extra charge for the Replacements references.

Today’s the day most observers expect Asante Samuel to end his no-contract-out and return to the Patriots secondary, as the team begins to whittle its way down to a final roster by Saturday. In fact, the Providence Journal has reported that Samuel is already in town and will be with the team when it practices today.

Samuel will rejoin the team with no guarantees about his future, as the Patriots will reportedly not give up the option of franchising him again next spring. If so, New England has apparently survived its latest high-profile hold-out (isn’t it just semantics to call it anything else?) none the worse for wear.

The Pats beat writers are already contemplating the cutdowns this week, as both Mike Reiss and John Tomase have already taken a swing at projecting a final roster. Naturally, the wide receiver, tight end and linebacker postitions require the most cipherin’. Veterans Reche Caldwell and Tory James will be among those who hope they won’t have to Bring Their Playbook, and rookies Oscar Lua and Justin Rogers hope to add some needed youth to the Pats veteran linebacking corps.

I’m surprised at the writers’ mention of Richard Seymour possibly starting the season on the PUP list, as I’ve just assumed all along that the Pats were taking it easy with their best defensive player as he rebounds from off-season knee surgery, and that he’d be ready to go next week. If I’m not mistaken, starting the season on The List would mean the Pats would be without Seymour until late October, a prospect I never considered. The good news is that the Patriots seem to have built some real depth along the line this summer; still, that would only be small consolation for not having Seymour for 40% of the season.

The other curious thing I noticed this morning is the mention of a possible Eugene Wilson injury suffered during the Pats win over the Panthers on Friday. No indication as to the severity of the injury, but if Wilson is shelved long, Samuel will arrive just in time for another reshuffling of the Patriots secondary. Though James Sanders filled in for Wilson Friday, you’d have to think Brandon Meriweather may shift from corner to his collegiate position of safety. Which may be good news for Tory James, for example, but not such good news for the Patriots.

For other news, try for the rest of this morning’s headlines, and you may also want to check out our pal Christopher Price’s latest Metro column on the Pats, as Chris looks back at ten things we learned on Friday night.

Please report to the Comments section, and oh, yeah, bring your playbook.