The Patriots have had a surprisingly busy off-season. They traded Chandler Jones away, signed veterans like Chris Long, Shea McClellin and bought in a raft of rookies through a nice draft class. But who are the established names who could be on the way out of Foxboro thanks to all that business?
Josh Kline, G
Kline started 13 games for the Patriots at guard last season but he was far from brilliant on the field. The fact that New England have bought in Jonathan Cooper and drafted Joe Thuney in the 3rd round and Ted Karras in the 6th shows they want to improve across the inside of the offensive line. The return of superstar line coach Dante Scarnecchia could save Kline’s place on the team but the Patriots can save $1.5 million by moving on from him, and come August that could be very tempting.
Alan Branch, DT
The veteran defensive tackle is still a good player. He can eat up space and attract blockers, clogging up interior running lanes. But New England have added several other players like that since they lost to Denver in the AFC Championship Game – Terrance Knighton was brought in as a free agent and the monstrous Vincent Valentine was drafted in the 3rd round. Pair the two of them with 2nd-year player Malcolm Brown and you have 3 big run stuffers in already then the 31-year old Branch starts to look very cuttable.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB
With Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension once again looming over the start of the Patriots season the expectation was that Garoppolo would be the starter in Brady’s absence. But then the Patriots threw a spanner in the works by drafting Jacoby Brissett in the 3rd round. Bill Belichick has always been willing to invest in the back-up to Brady, but bringing in another well drafted guy when Garoppolo is there seems to suggest confidence isn’t strong in the man they drafted in the 2nd round in 2014. When training camp starts there is every chance that reps start going to Brissett and it is he, not Garoppolo, who starts should Brady be suspended. And the Patriots rarely carry 3 quarterbacks on their roster.