This Friday, the New England Patriots released QB Jeff Rowe and TE Robbie Agnone. In a press release from Patriots.com, the team gives a brief summary of two players who never reached the field. Agnone was a 2009 undrafted tight end from the University of Delaware, while Rowe was a 2007 5th round draft pick for Cincinnati.
Neither of these releases should come as much of a surprise.
Agnone knew his time was numbered when the Patriots brought in veteran TE Alge Crumpler, as well as drafted rookies Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Agnone only had an outside chance of making the roster and, with so many other promising prospects (hah!), had an outside shot of returning to the practice squad.
Rowe didn't have much of a chance of making the roster either. Firstly, he's a 5th round draft pick which, for those keeping track, is MUCH too high of a pick for a Patriots QB. Secondly, the Patriots have some guy named Tom Brady, a 2nd year QB they have high trust in named Brian Hoyer and they recently used a 7th round draft pick on QB Zac Robinson. Just like Agnone, Rowe had an outside chance of making the practice squad.
In a busy day, the Patriots, via Ian Rapoport, also claimed former Seattle Seahawks' 2009 6th round selection, QB Mike Teel from waivers. The Seahawks have spent their off-season reloading their quarterback position so Teel was lost from the loaded position.
Teel was a star in college at Rutgers. He was a much better vertical passer than Rowe, averaging nearly 2 extra yards per throw in his last two seasons. Teel's accuracy improved all 4 years as a starter, as did his college passer rating. Teel is more of a pocket passer, while Rowe is more of a scrambler. I think that Teel better fits the Patriots style of offense and can better compete with Robinson for the practice squad position.
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe that Teel yet counts against the Patriots 80 contract player limit since he doesn't have a contract. I think these releases come with the Patriots forward thinking of opposing teams releasing players. If other teams drop players, the Patriots will have open spots to claim them or sign them to contracts. Don't look for the Patriots to sign more players any time soon, but the team definitely has more freedom to do so, if they wish.