Patriots roster cuts: Analyzing Nate Washington, E.J. Biggers releases
This week, New England Patriots roster cuts began, and Nate Washington and E.J. Biggers were a few of the casualties.
The cuts of Washington and Biggers in particular remind one of the brief stints of veteran cornerback Derek Cox and veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne on the Patriots roster this time last year. Let’s start by comparing Biggers and Cox.
10 most promising sophomore pros on Patriots roster
Biggers and Cox are comparable because both were experienced NFL corners who the Patriots signed during free agency. Both were signed to what were clearly bubble contracts, and both were cut before the end of the preseason in favor of younger cover men. Niether Biggers or Cox were considered elite corners, and the Patriots took low-risk, low-reward gambles on them.
Instead of taking Cox in 2015, the Patriots eventually went with Justin Coleman. And this year, the release of Biggers clears way for Jonathan Jones, Cre’von LeBlanc or Darryl Roberts.
Analyzing Malcolm Mitchell-Troy Brown comparison
Moving on to Washington and Wayne, this is a wholly different comparison in that both Washington and Wayne were stars in their prime. Washington established himself as an above-average pass catcher over 10 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans; Wayne spent the entirety of his career with the Indianapolis Colts. Both probably viewed heading to New England as victorious ways to cap it all off.
3 ripple effects of Nate Washington release
The difference between Washington and Wayne is that Wayne asked for his release and was granted it by the Patriots, while Washington just plain got cut. But how Washington and Wayne left the team is not important.
3 ripple effects of Bear Pascoe release
What these comparisons tell us is that the Patriots routinely accumulate veterans during the offseason and summer, often not with the intention of keeping them around. Again, these are low-risk, low-reward moves that give rookies and younger players stiff competition. If a veteran newcomer bursts on the scene, the Patriots will take notice and keep him, but more often than not, the Patriots will side with the younger, fresher pair of legs.
Next: 3 ripple effects of Bryan Stork release
It will be interesting to see the kind of longtime NFL veterans the Patriots sign next offseason, only to cut in the preseason as younger players rise.