New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick always bucks convention when it comes to building his roster. Whether he’s shipping away star players like Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, or Chandler Jones, or he’s cutting recent high round draft picks like Dominique Easley, Josh Boyce, or Cameron Fleming, Belichick is always good for a surprise or two.
So we’ve asked our staff to pick their surprise roster cut of 2016- and we’re interested to see what you have to say in the comments.
RB LeGarrette Blount.
Projected starter, team-friendly contract, has been productive in the past, no clue how the Patriots would replace him if he didn’t make it, factored to be a major part of the offense in 2016…all these things make him a prime candidate to get the axe.
DT Terrance Knighton.
The departure of the well-beloved Vince Wilfork has left fans jonesing for a gigantic, run-stuffing, brick-wall defensive tackle in the middle of the defensive line, and Terrance Knighton looks great on paper, but his contract - which only has $250,000 guaranteed and $500,000 in roster bonuses - is clearly set up to allow the team to bail if he's not getting the job done.
OG Josh Kline.
Kline is not the biggest name on the roster but his release would still be a surprise. After all, he was a starter and arguably the Patriots' best offensive lineman in 2015 and was rewarded with a two-year contract extension. In short: he looks like a safe bet to make the team. However, New England added three guards this offseason in a clear attempt to upgrade the position. Add a $2.0 million cap hit plus offseason surgery and you have the perfect recipe for a surprising roster cut.
OC David Andrews.
I predict Joe Thuney starts at center with Jonathan Cooper and Shaq Mason flanking him. Bryan Stork would be the backup. Since Andrews doesn't fit anywhere else, he has virtually no roster utility as a backup. The reason I'm including him is that people were saying he outplayed Stork, which wasn't really the case. I still see Andrews in New England in 2016 on the practice squad.
RB Brandon Bolden.
It wouldn't be a surprise if he was cut three years ago, but now he manages to stick year after year with his highlight reel special teams play. Donald Brown can play the core four special teams and he is a better all around running back. Bolden just got upgraded.
RB James White.
Whether it’s by trade or by outright cut, I’m not sure if White sticks around in 2016. He’s an elite pass catcher, but provide little value as a runner. I think the Patriots opt to move forward with Donald Brown and/or undrafted rookie D.J. Foster due to their rushing ability. I could see a team willing to send some draft capital to the Patriots for White.
We have three running backs, two offensive linemen, and kudos to Matthew for picking the only defensive player on the list. I think it shows the competition that the Patriots have at both running back and along the interior offensive line- and how neither grouping has many clear favorites to make the squad.
Who is your pick to be a surprise cut this offseason?