Yesterday marked a day that many players dread. The day that each team makes their final cuts to bring down the roster to a 53 man unit. As many know, the Patriots are no strangers to obscure moves and dealing, but yesterday was a little more unusual.
The Patriots cut running back Jonas Gray, and through what was a bizarre situation, they also agreed to part ways with veteran receiver Reggie Wayne. The roster now looks a bit different than it did just a few days ago, and with the season opener less than a week away, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the squad reacts to the release of their former teammates.
Now as mentioned previously, the Pats decided to move on from running back Jonas Gray, and instead opt to go with Dion Lewis, and what will be a much more receiving orientated running back group.
The Patriots have not been shy, however, about their feelings toward Gray. After Gray’s breakout performance against the Indianapolis Colts last year, Gray was late to the team facility. As a response to this, the Patriots benched Gray for the subsequent game versus the Lions.
It was not the first time Gray had been late to the team facility, and it seems as though Gray was never fully committed to winning. Clearly the Patriots felt the same way, as they cut ties with him, and move on.
I will admit, I was a supporter of Gray, and hoped that he would be able to contribute to the Patriots’ success this season. He was a good, solid, power runner with surprising speed, and a low center of gravity. As he showed against the Colts, when given the right circumstances, he can really punish opposing defenses and make it a long night for the defensive coordinator.
I am not sure that I like this cut, as I would have preferred to see perhaps Travaris Cadet go before Gray, but I can understand where the move came from. The move that really shocked me was the parting of ways between the Pats, and former Colt receiver Reggie Wayne.
The news broke in the middle of the day that Wayne had asked the team to be released. Rumors are that Wayne was having a difficult time adjusting to the New England offense, and rather than work through it, he decided to hang up the cleats, and call it a day.
All early indications are that Wayne will retire, and I don’t really blame him. He has had a great career, but, as it has happened to many veteran receivers who come to New England, he could not adjust to the Pats’ system.
I was extremely excited when the Pats first acquired Wayne, but I guess only a few weeks of preparation was too much to ask for from Wayne. Apparently whatever offense they are implementing over in Indy, is like paint by numbers compared to what we’re doing over here. That’s probably why we beat them by 40 points every time we play them.
What is concerning about the Wayne departure is that the Patriots have now become very vulnerable at the wide receiver position. With the news that Brandon LaFell will be placed on the PUP list, receiver is now a top priority for the Pats.
Wayne’s presence could have been invaluable for this team, but now the Patriots will have to find a way to overcome this deficit. They have shown in the past that they are capable of doing it, it is just that Brady only has a short amount of time left in the league, and you want to see him surrounded by a great supporting cast. I am not saying this receiving core is bad, it’s just that having Wayne and LaFell could only help.
We have seen moves like this before, however, and if there is one team in the league that can make the worst situations work it’s the Patriots. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, but ‘In Bill We Trust’.
By Jake Cianci