With salary cap money currently needed after the Patriots added Jon Harris yesterday, the thought going through many player’s minds has to be “Am I next?”
Belichick has shown no mercy for who he’s cut during this offseason, and regardless of stature it really has yet to matter to him. He released guys like Ben Coates and Bruce Armstrong, both of which came to a surprise to Patriots fans. He released quiet yet solid performers like Mike Bartrum who made little money but was cut anyway, along with Zefross Moss who was considered by many to be the best offensive lineman the Patriots had. The only moves he made which came with little surprise was the release of Lamont Warren and Terry Allen, both of which New England is looking to replace with younger and less expensive players.
So who could be next? Keep in mind New England has to sign all of their draft choices and they’re going to need some cap relief. After Harris’ signing yesterday they have to be just over the salary cap, and someone or several players will have to be sent packing in order to make it happen.
Possible candidates could be Tony Carter or Vincent Brisby, both of whom have extremely high cap numbers. Other possibilities could be Larry Whigham, Todd Rucci, or Max Lane. Brandon Mitchell is another player who could be released since he has yet to play up to his potential. Chris Carter is another possibility.
But could other players not mentioned be in jeopardy? Could John Friesz or Henry Thomas be sent packing? Could it be someone else like Adam Vinatieri who struggled last season? Would they replace him with some rookie? Could someone like Chris Slade or Willie McGinest be cut in favor of bigger faster players at their positions? Both struggle in pass coverage and McGinest is still considered at only 250 to be one of the smaller defensive ends in the NFL. He’s also had a tough time putting pressure on the quarterback. Both played well under Belichick, but is anyone really safe?
So who will it be?
Expect an answer over the next few days, and don’t be surprised when you see who it is. It’s simply business, nothing personal, and Belichick will tell them the same thing on the way out the door.