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Report: Patriots Release Brandon Meriweather

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In what can be seen as a somewhat shocking news, ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that the New England Patriots have released Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather:

Two straight Pro Bowls and 64 appearances in 64 career games ultimately wasn't enough to save safety Brandon Meriweather. The Patriots have parted ways with the first-round pick from the 2007 draft, according to a league source.

Meriweather's status had been the subject of rumor and speculation. He recently downplayed to our good buddy Tom Curran of CSNNE.com the fact that coach Bill Belichick had Meriweather playing during garbage time of the preseason finale.

Meriweather really struggled at times last year, and hadn't looked particularly special during training camp or the preseason.  However, most, including myself, figured that when the Patriots released James Sanders last week, that it was likely an indication that Meriweather's status on the roster was safe considering the lack of depth at the the position and his relatively cheap salary.  Apparently not.

The question now becomes, what does this mean for the Patriots roster?  The top option at strong safety is still Patrick Chung.  Barring some sort of disaster, he is a stud who will starting for the Patriots.  After Chung, the Patriots have Josh Barrett, Sergio Brown, and James Ihedigbo.  All three of those players now look like locks to make the team.  The Patriots may also look to bring in outside help.  Earlier in the month, the Patriots worked out a handful of safeties, including Darren Sharper, who could be a viable option as a "center field" safety.  And hey, Lawyer Milloy's a free agent as well.