The New England Patriots’ already thin wide receiver depth chart was just reduced by one fourth of its size: the reigning world champions released second-year wideout Darren Andrews today. With the 23-year old no longer on the team, the Patriots have only three wide receivers under contract at the moment in Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, special teams ace Matthew Slater, and second-year man Braxton Berrios.
Andrews originally joined the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent following last year’s draft, but was released with a non-football injury designation just three days later. The UCLA product, who reverted to New England’s non-football injury list after going unclaimed through the waiver wire, was moved after the team apparently did not deem him healthy enough coming off a senior season that ended with a torn ACL.
After a year on the sidelines, the club is obviously not confident yet in Andrews’ abilities to contribute in 2019. His departure might be the first of many at the receiver position this offseason: Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson are all scheduled to enter free agency next week and could also leave the club — albeit under different circumstances than Darren Andrews.
Andrews’ release is not the only Patriots move on today’s NFL transactions wire: the release of tight end Dwayne Allen that was reported on Saturday also became official today. The move creates $7.3 million in additional salary cap space and leaves New England with four tight ends under contract: Rob Gronkowski, who is still mulling retirement, Jacob Hollister, Stephen Anderson and Ryan Izzo.