|A closer look at the Patriots’ decision to release Joseph Addai||07.25.12 at 5:46 pm ET|
If nothing else, this offseason will be remembered as a stretch where the Patriots picked over the remnants of a once great array of Colts’ skill position players like a shopper at a table full of day-old bargains and found nothing more than spare parts.
New England kicked the tires on wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (who was on the roster for all of a couple of months) and tight end Dallas Clark (who they took a look at this spring in a workout). Reggie Wayne was also a possibility that never came to fruition. And Joseph Addai was cut Wednesday as training camp began.
(To be fair, the Patriots did add one former Colt this offseason who has managed to stick around to this point: offensive lineman Jamey Richard, who played the last four seasons in Indy.)
The decision to release Addai comes as a bit of a surprise, especially after a series of spring workouts where coaches and teammates all praised him as a committed veteran who was fitting into the Patriots’ system very nicely. (One opposing scout I spoke with praised him as a great pickup for New England.) Combine that with the fact that he signed a one-year deal with a base salary of $725,000, to go along with a $75,000 signing bonus and $50,000 workout bonus. However, it’s reasonable to think that injuries may have played a role in his situation. The LSU product missed some of the spring camps, and has struggled with the injury bug since 2010.
The Patriots now have 89 players on the roster, and four running backs: Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead and undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden. It would appear that Ridley is the biggest beneficiary of the move: the certainly flashed well throughout the spring, and even before Addai signed as a free agent, he figured to get the bulk of the carries in 2012 with the departure of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. However, New England could add another free agent running back, possibly Ryan Grant or veteran Kevin Faulk, who has played the last 13 seasons with the Patriots but remains unsigned at this point.
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