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BREAKING: Patriots release wide receiver Kenny Britt...after offering him a contract extension?

New England will part ways with the former first-round draft pick.

Super Bowl LII - New England Patriots - Practice Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Next week, the New England Patriots will have to cut their roster down to 53 players. It looks like they have already started by making a rather surprising move. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the team is parting ways with veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt:

Sources: The #Patriots are releasing WR Kenny Britt. A fairly big surprise given the expectations coming into camp.

Britt originally joined New England last season as a free agent signing, but appeared in only three games. Expectations were high for him entering the 2018 season given his size, and status as a former first-round draft pick. However, a hamstring injury limited him for most of training camp and he had yet to appear in a preseason contest. Still, there was hope that the 29-year old would eventually return.

This hope will not turn into any realistic contributions it seems. With Britt now out of the picture, the Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart gets even lighter: Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Mitchell were released earlier in training camp, Julian Edelman will be suspended for four games, and both of last year’s top two at the position – Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola – wear different uniforms this year.

[UPDATE] According to Britt’s agent, the report is correct and the Patriots have in fact released the wideout.

[UPDATE] According to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe, Britt “received an offer for a contract extension from the Patriots” earlier in the summer, obviously prior to his release. This is confusing. How did the Patriots go from “we think Britt will be valuable player in the future” to “we don’t think he can contribute to our already depleted receiver corps” so quickly?

And even if Britt is limited by his hamstring injury, wouldn’t a player deemed worthy of a contract extension be worth keeping around for a little while longer?

The big takeaway is that Cordarrelle Patterson and Chris Hogan look to be the top two receivers while Julian Edelman is suspended. This is not a great top trio, but it’s not a bad one. Britt was expected to provide value in the red zone. I’m buying stock in Jacob Hollister right now. -Rich