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Patriots release backup defensive lineman Caleb Kidder

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The former undrafted rookie spent all of 2017 on injured reserve.

In exactly one week, the 2018 NFL free agency period will start. But even before that day, a lot of transactions will happen throughout the league – with the New England Patriots having already started: Veteran linebacker David Harris' contract was terminated after he announced his retirement, the contract option of wide receiver Kenny Britt will reportedly be exercised, and defensive tackle Alan Branch will be let go.

While the Britt and Branch decisions will likely not become official until March 14, another personnel move has already hit the NFL's transaction wire yesterday: the release of backup defensive lineman Caleb Kidder. New England opted to part ways with the 24-year old after he spent his entire 2017 rookie on the team's injured reserve list after he was waived with an injury designation during the preseason.

Kidder originally joined the Patriots as an undrafted rookie out of Montana on the eve of last year's training camp. He failed to leave a lasting impression and ultimately was forced to spend his first season in the NFL on the sidelines. Now, his tenure in New England likely comes to and end in a move that will not have an impact on the Patriots' current salary cap number (Kidder was not among the top-51 contracts).

With Kidder gone, the Patriots have six defensive ends – headed by Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Derek Rivers – remaining on their roster.