The Patriots have released defensive end Justin Francis, linebacker Ja’Gared Davis and safety Kanorris Davis, according to Field Yates of ESPN. The biggest surprise of the three is Francis, a defensive end who showed some promise as a rookie in 2012, finishing the season with seven quarterback hits and three sacks. The 24-year-old, a 6-foot-4, 270-pounder out of Rutgers who had 10 tackles total last season, will likely get picked up by someone between now and the start of the regular season.

The moves keep coming for the Patriots:

With the deadline for final cuts set for 6 p.m., the Patriots made a flurry of moves Saturday morning.

1. The Patriots have released Tim Tebow, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The quarterback, who was picked up in June as a free agent after being cut by the Jets, struggled over the course of the preseason was 11-for-30 for 145 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions in his three preseason games.

The Patriots have released defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, according to Pro Football Talk. The Florida product, who was a second-round pick of New England in 2010, had 59 tackles and 3.5 sacks with the Patriots in three seasons. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder, who was suspended for PEDs for four games in 2012, has his best year with New England last season when he had 2.5 sacks and 24 tackles (16 solo) in 12 games (three starts).

The Patriots announced the release of 10 players Friday afternoon: tight ends Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells, defensive end Marcus Benard, wide receiver Johnathan Haggerty, linebacker Mike Rivera, offensive linemen Luke Patterson, Matt Stankiewitch, defensive linemen Gilbert Pena and Scott Vallone and fullback Ben Bartholomew.

Here’s a portion of the release issued by the team on the moves:

The Patriots continued to make cuts as they move to get to 53 players, releasing defensive lineman Marcus Benard in a bit of a surprise, according to a report from

According to multiple reports Friday afternoon, the Patriots have released tight ends Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells.

The move likely means the Patriots plan to keep Zach Sudfeld and Michael Hoomanawanui and activate Rob Gronkowski from the PUP list.

FOXBORO — As it is every year, the hours between the end of the final preseason game and Saturday’s 6 p.m. 53-man roster cut deadline is a tense one – for players and coaches.

It’s no different this year for Bill Belichick and his staff. He made that much clear Friday morning in his conference call with reporters.

FOXBORO -- Just before 11 p.m. on Thursday, the Patriots’ 2013 preseason came to a close. And it was officially time to start thinking about real football again.

FOXBORO — Will Tim Tebow make the Patriots 53-man cut this Saturday? Since the day he was signed the day before June mini-camp, that has been the question asked time and time again.

Well, after his best performance of the preseason Thursday night, it would appear more likely that he will be on the roster.

If he does make the roster, he might have to thank Quentin Sims. Tebow threw his first two touchdowns of preseason to the free agent first-year player.