Yesterday, the New England Patriots delivered some startling news when they announced the release of veteran running back Joseph Addai.
While I didn't quite understand the reasoning behind it, given the positive words that were being said about his veteran presence by the other backs. But there was some clarity provided early this morning.
According to Field Yates of ESPN Boston, Addai was released because he failed his team physical on Wednesday. He was signed by the Patriots back on May 10 following a six-year career with the Indianapolis Colts.
With Addai now out of the fray, the Patriots' running back competition became a little bit more predictable. Baring another free agent signing, the Patriots will bring Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Bolden to camp as the lone backs.
With Ridley and Vereen already considered roster locks, Addai's release seems to come to the relief of at least Danny Woodhead. Earlier this week, I pegged both Woodhead and Addai as "on the bubble" players--citing their similar styles. With Addai gone, it seems that the third-down back job is Woodhead's to lose.
As for Bolden, I believe his small chances of making the 53-man roster have became significantly better. Reason being, is that history seems to be on the undrafted free agent's side. Since 2009, the Patriots have carried at least four running backs on their Week one roster. I'm not saying he's a lock, but Bolden might be someone who could end up with a roster slot. Let's take a look at the Patriots (projected) running back depth chart:
- Stevan Ridley
- Shane Vereen
- Danny Woodhead
- Brandon Bolden