Today, the Patriots made the Deion Branch trade official, announcing that the team had acquired the player that could easily be considered a "playoff hero" for the Patriots. Branch will wear #84.
However, in conjunction with the Branch acquisition, the team announced that they have place tackle/guard Nick Kaczur on injured reserve. As you have probably heard by now, Kaczur has been suffering from a neck ailment all season, undergoing surgery in August. The team left the door open with Kaczur, but have finally decided to let him get healthy for 2011.
With Dan Connolly playing exceptionally well, there isn't really much of a need for Kaczur at this point. Recent reports have also suggested that holdout guard Logan Mankins could report for the final six games of the season. While the team might not accept Mankins back with open arms, his potential presence (along with Connolly's performance and the recent re-signing of Quinn Ojinaka) makes it unnecessary for the team to hold a roster spot for Kaczur.
My feeling is that Kaczur will become a very valuable role player for the Patriots for next year. For now, however, it seems as though the team is doing just fine without him.