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2018 Patriots roster cuts: New England trades Jordan Richards to Falcons for conditional seventh-round pick

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The veteran is gone.

Tennessee Titans v New England Patriots
Richards: “Did I leave the oven on?”
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

While the New England Patriots have had plenty of hits in the second round of the NFL draft over the years – Rob Gronkowski, Matt Light, and Deion Branch are the best examples –, they also had some big-time misses. The latest to enter the club of disappointing second-round picks is safety Jordan Richards, whose tenure came to end today.

After three rather underwhelming years in Foxboro, the Patriots have traded Richards to the Atlanta Falcons (first reported by the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride):

#Patriots are trading safety Jordan Richards to the Falcons, according to a league source.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, New England will receive a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2020 for Richards. Entering the final year of his rookie contract on a salary cap hit of $1.18 million, the Stanford product was far from guaranteed a spot on the team even though the Patriots did not add any significant competition during the offseason.

Nevertheless, it looks as if they felt the special teamer and part time strong safety was no longer worth keeping around. The move leaves New England relatively thin behind the top three safeties Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon: Nate Ebner is primarily a special teamer, while Damarius Travis had a quiet summer. Maybe Jason McCourty will now take over Richards’ role – or an outside acquisition.