New England Patriots Release Brandon Spikes: Taking Stock of Linebacker Depth

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As you probably know by now, the New England Patriots have released run-stopping linebacker Brandon Spikes. Adam Schefter first reported the news:

This news should be taken with a grain of salt. Spikes wasn’t going to be starting for the Patriots in 2015 because of the outstanding trio of Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo and Jamie Collins. So the release of Spikes does not directly impact the starting lineup; more so, it affects the Patriots’ depth at linebacker.

After the massive turnover in the secondary, the Patriots are committing to the front seven in 2015. Really, they have to—the undermanned cornerback group will get torched without a strong front seven that stops the run and rushes the passer.

There aren’t any question marks surrounding Hightower, Mayo and Collins. But those guys aren’t invincible; they won’t play every snap of the season. Without Spikes in the picture, the Patriots had better hope that their depth at linebacker is sufficient.

Let’s take a closer look at the top linebacker depth after Hightower, May and Collins. Note that not every linebacker on the roster is listed in this article, but only the top four guys as of right now.

Next: Dekoda Watson