Per CSNNE's Tom Curran, the New England Patriots have started their spring cleaning with two major roster moves:
The Patriots have released Brandon LaFell and Scott Chandler.— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) March 2, 2016
Wide receiver Brandon LaFell was a crucial part of the Patriots 2014 Super Bowl team, but suffered a foot injury that required offseason surgery. The recovery period leaked into the regular season and LaFell wasn't the same player in 2015.
LaFell had fallen behind receivers Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Keshawn Martin in the depth chart. Releasing LaFell will increase the Patriots cap space by $2.2 million.
Tight end Scott Chandler was signed away from the Bills in order to provide back-up in case of an injury to Rob Gronkowski. Chandler suffered a knee injury of his own, but he battled drops throughout the season and fell so far out of favor that quarterback Tom Brady wouldn't look in his direction.
Chandler fell behind Gronkowski and blocking tight end Michael Williams in the depth chart. Releasing Chandler will increase the Patriots cap space by an additional $1.5 million.
The Patriots now have roughly $17.3 million in cap space, but they now also have a major need at wide receiver, especially after informing receiver Brian Tyms that he would not be back with the team, and at back-up tight end.
Wide receiver Aaron Dobson is the only true outside wide receiver on the roster, as Chris Harper is another player in the mold of Edelman and Martin. Dobson is far from a roster lock, so perhaps the Patriots will make a major move to address the position this offseason.
Rising sophomore A.J. Derby joins Gronkowski and Williams at the Patriots tight end depth, but a back-up for Gronkowski is a necessity for 2016.