Roster Shuffle Reaction: Patriots Sign Winslow, Branch; Release Three

Derek Havens
September 18, 2012 at 11:26pm ET

Free agent WR Eric Decker says he would be 'good fit' with Patriots
Man charged with robbing Gronkowski's home arraigned
Buckley: What will Tom Brady do when he retires from football?
Tom Brady teases with Instagram comment
Devin McCourty not disappointed in Tom Brady

The Patriots were very busy on Tuesday, making a multitude of roster moves. The team released wide receiver Greg Salas, linebacker Mike Rivera and fullback Lex Hilliard.

The Patriots re-signed wide receiver Deion Branch on Tuesday. (FILE:USPresswire)

With the three open roster spots, the Pats started to fill them by signing tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr. and re-signing wide receiver Deion Branch.

The team has one open roster spot remaining, which I would expect to be filled on Wednesday.


The Salas release surprised me given the depth on the depth chart at receiver and he was just acquired in a trade from the Rams on Sept. 1. In exchange for Salas, the Patriots sent St. Louis a seventh-round pick in 2015. Curious why he did not stick.

The corresponding move by New England, however, did not surprise me. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, I mentioned how I expected Jabar Gaffney or Deion Branch to return once Salas was cut.

Like many other Pats fans, I was very happy once the news broke Branch was returning. Yes, he is older, slower and not the same player he use to be, but he is still a very capable and dependable player for an offense that needs some stability at the moment. Also, he was very productive last season; starting 15 games, catching 51 passes for 702 yards and five touchdowns in the 2011 season.

On the Winslow signing, I thought the move made a lot of sense with Aaron Hernandez reportedly sidelined for a few weeks. Winslow also as not missed a game in the past three seasons, despite having a reported knee issue. Last season the 29-year-old tight end caught 75 catches, for 763 yards and two touchdowns. The signing would help the Patriots stick with their preferred option of the multiple tight end offense.

For Patriots updates in an instant, follow me on Twitter: @PatriotsHaven!