The Patriots informed veteran safety  James Sanders that they will release him on Monday afternoon. As the Patriots begin to cut down their roster from 90 – 80 before Tuesday’s deadline, this roster move shocked many people apart of Patriots Nation. Analysts, spectators, and fans were not the only one’s who were surprised, Sanders himself was caught off guard -

“It was a shock. It wasn’t one of the things I was expecting to hear today. It didn’t cross my mind,” Sanders said on Monday.

Bill Belichick also commented on the move later on Monday- “Tough release there with James Sanders. Been a really good guy to have on this team.”

After pulling a hamstring at the beginning of training camp, he was limited in reps during practice. Sanders only participated fully in four practices and had 19 reps during Saturday night’s loss to the Detroit Lions.

Sanders was scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.8 million this season, which might have been the deciding factor in his release. The Patriots might have believed that was too rich for a player who will be third on the depth chart behind likely starters Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung.

Former Patriots defensive back Ellis Hobbs tweeted to Sanders on Monday afternoon -

@EllisHobbs@JamesSanders36 what’s good bruh, what’s goin on they got rid of the smartest player 2 be apart of the patriot organization?!”

Sanders was not told the specific reason for his release.

I am saddened by the news of Sanders release. He was a class act and a solid player for this team. He offered great leadership to a young secondary and even though he was not the most talented, he still had a lot to offer.

I trust Bill Belichick’s decision to cut Sanders and cannot help to wonder if this is a vote of confidence in Meriweather’s direction going forward. Only time will tell as the Pats and the other 31 NFL teams have to trim their rosters to 80 by tomorrow’s deadline.

Along with Sanders, the Pats also released CB Jonathan Wilhite, LS Matt Katula, WR Darnell Jenkins, FB Eric Kettani, & DE Clay Nurse. As more roster shuffling occurs, I will post updates. Stay tuned.

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