Earlier today, the New England Patriots signed free agent tight end Lance Kendricks to fill their vacant 90th roster spot and give the team a full squad heading into training camp — at least for a short period of time: as first reported by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss and since confirmed by the Patriots, interior offensive lineman Brian Schwenke was placed on the reserve/retired list today. Schwenke’s retirement yet again creates an open spot on the world champions’ roster.
The 27-year old was entering his second season with the Patriots after he returned to New England this offseason on a one-year contract extension. Schwenke originally joined the team in late July last year and despite getting thrown in at the deep end — he was brought aboard when New England’s training camp had already started — performed well enough over the next few weeks to be kept on speed-dial after his release in early September.
Schwenke, a fourth-round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2013 who also spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, re-joined the club just three days after his release and served as a backup interior offensive lineman until early November. After appearing in three games during which he played four snaps on offense and twenty-one in the kicking game, however, the Cal product was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.
Despite the injury, the team obviously felt confident in Schwenke’s abilities heading into preparations for the 2019 season. Not only was he signed to the aforementioned extension, he also saw considerable snaps with the first-team offensive line during spring practices. Would he have become a starter this year? No, but his versatility to play guard and center in combination with his experience would have made Schwenke an intriguing depth option along the interior.
Instead, however, he now becomes the third member of the Patriots to retire this offseason: tight end Rob Gronkowski ended his Hall of Fame career in March; offensive tackle Jared Veldheer stepped away from the game just eight days after signing a free agency deal in New England.