The New England Patriots are starting to trim the fat and are steadily working-out towards a lean 53-man roster shape. The surprising cuts started with the tight end position by releasing Daniel Fells, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, and Jake Ballard per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.
Jun 11, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Daniel Fells (86) runs after a catch at the practice field during Minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Apparently the Patriots saw enough of Fells on the field last night and giving his three-year, $5.25 million contract for catching just four passes in the 2012 season, there was little sense in keeping Fells in the roster.
Jake Ballard’s cut came to surprise many of us. His 2012 knee injury, a torn ACL followed by a microfracture surgery seemed to still be giving him a great deal of set back as his knee swelled up through training camp, hindering his performance. ESPN Chris Mortensen suggested that Ballard was running the risk of not making the roster due to his struggles during training camp, which prompted me to write if Jake Ballard Will Make the Roster, in part because of the way Ballard was acquired by the New York Giants, his release and possible Giants interest on him, and if his health now is as good as it gets. That of course, we don’t know for sure but Bill Belichick probably could not wait and see and place him on injury reserve another year.
These two tight ends cuts leave the Patriots with Rob Gronkowski, rookie Zach Sudfeld and Michael Hoomanawanui at the position. It also implicates that Gronk might not be in the PUP list after all as it was indicated the Patriots are leaning toward activating Gronk. I can’t help but to think if Belichick has any plans on utilizing Tebow as a tight end.
I wish Ballard well. He is a talented tight end and it would be great to see him playing more football. I would not be surprised if Daniel Fells lands in Bucs Island as Tampa Bay Buccaneers has Tom Crabtree out indefinite due to a high ankle sprain.