This afternoon, the Patriots released six players including veteran defensive lineman Ty Warren, tight end Alge Crumpler, tackle Nick Kaczur, rookie outside linebacker Ryan Coulson, defensive lineman Marcus Stroud, outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, and cornerback Tony Carter.
The releases of Marcus Stroud, Tully Banta-Cain, and Tony Carter had all been previously reported. Rookie Ryan Coulson was a long shot to make the roster. Nick Kaczur, as we discussed yesterday, was a likely casualty considering that Matt Light is expected to re-sign with the team soon.
The obvious surprises here are tight end Alge Crumpler and defensive lineman Ty Warren. Warren is clearly the biggest surprise.
Alge Crumpler was due $2.4 million in 2011. According to PatsCap.com, releasing him will save the team nearly $2 million. Crumpler is a very good blocking tight end. However, the team recently brought in Lee Smith through the draft, whose greatest strength is also his blocking. I think there's a chance Crumpler could be back at a lower price, as he is a respected leader who commanded the respect of the locker room.
As I said, the release of Ty Warren is a huge surprise. The biggest reason, the salary cap implications. Warren was due just a $3.1 million base salary this year. Because of his prorated signing bonus allocation, he was due just under $6 million. While this is a high number, consider the fact that releasing Warren will save the team just over $200,000 on the salary cap (according to PatsCap.com), which is absolutely nothing. (Update: Not sure on the whole "dead money" rules, so I'll let you know when I figure that out
Yes, Warren entered camp on the Active/PUP list. He probably wasn't fully healthy. However, keeping him on the PUP list meant that he wouldn't count against the roster limits. The fact that the Patriots have outright released him and aren't gaining any salary cap space means that the team is essentially completely severing ties with him. He won't be returning at a lower price. Considering that the recently acquired Albert Haynesworth is a huge question mark, the Patriots now find themselves thin along the defensive line. Ron Brace is likely your new starter at left end, but there are serious questions about depth at that position, as well as the entire right defensive end spot.
In case you couldn't tell, I'm not a fan of the Warren move. We'll see where this goes.