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New England Patriots release Visanthe Shiancoe

Even though the New England Patriots have seen their pass-catchers sustain injuries at a high rate, that hasn’t stopped them from releasing disappointing tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. Most people were critical of the Pats placing the “designated for return tag” on Shiancoe, and those criticisms manifested themselves.

Shiancoe only recently received a larger role in the Patriots offense, but he was extremely disappointing in that role and has been a non-factor to this point. I think he’s had more negative plays than positive ones, and Daniel Fells has proved most of us right by playing much better than Shiancoe.

Heck, Fells was always the better player, especially when you look at his blocking. Shiancoe isn’t a good blocker at all, while Fells is one of the best in the NFL at the position. He showed his proficiency in both pass protection and as a run blocker with Sebastian Vollmer out against the New York Jets on Thanksgiving, and Fells is a consistent and underrated part of the offense.

He’s also a better receiver than some analysts will have you think, but he is clearly best off as a blocker.

Shiancoe’s release could signify that Rob Gronkowski is drawing closer to a return, and he reportedly wants to practice this week. Other outlets are saying that the release of Shiancoe isn’t related to Gronkowski’s health, and I would agree with that notion. Shiancoe has done enough on the field (as in, he’s played so poorly) that his release is warranted in that regard.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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