The New England Patriots are flipping the back of their roster and TE Clay Harbor has been released, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan.
Harbor started off the season as the 4th tight end on the depth chart, but passed AJ Derby for weeks 2 and 3. Derby appears to have the upper hand after playing ahead of Harbor this past Sunday against the Bills.
The Patriots have added another tight end in Greg Scruggs to join Derby, Rob Gronkwoski and Martellus Bennett.
Harbor joins DT Terrance Knighton, RB Donald Brown, and WR Keshawn Martin as players that received big bonuses from the Patriots prior to the start of the season, but were unable to have an actual impact.
The release of Harbor should actually yield the Patriots a 5th or 6th round compensatory draft pick since the Harbor contract cancelled out whatever the Patriots were expected to receive for Akiem Hicks signing with the Bears in free agency. Since Harbor was released before week 10, the Patriots should be able to pencil in another 5th or 6th round pick come the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Patriots needed to release two players to make space for QB Tom Brady and ED Rob Ninkovich, although this move could also have been made to bring in an injury replacement should RB Brandon Bolden miss any time. The Buccaneers just signed DT John Hughes, so he won’t be making a return.
Best of luck to Harbor wherever he goes.