NFL New England Patriots

5 New England Patriots Veterans Who Deserve To Be Cut

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New England Patriots Who Deserve To Be Cut

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have one of the deepest rosters in the league. Bill Belichick and company have spent years stockpiling the depth chart with some of the best talent in the NFL.

And that means that every roster spot is especially important, and extra hard to earn.

The Patriots have tried, with limited success, to supplement that talent in previous offseasons with veteran free agents. Those signings--along with a core group of players who have been with the team for years have seen better days--leave the Patriots with too many older players on the roster who should be let go.

Making it even harder to land on the final roster is the influx of youth that New England has imparted on its team in the last few years. They've made a point of becoming younger, especially on defense.

That youth movement has made it harder and harder for veteran players to find a place on the team. The younger players have fresher legs, need less time to recover from injuries and will have the potential to pay bigger dividends in the future if given the chance to play. A chance that they can only get if there aren't aging veterans taking up spots ahead of them on the depth chart.

The Patriots want to win now, that's for sure, but by cutting aging veterans and letting the good, young players get playing time, they can pull off an even harder challenge. They can win now and win later.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Daniel Fells

Daniel Fells
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Fells is on his third NFL team in his career, and has never been able to find a true role in the league. He's not a dynamic pass catcher and he's not a dominant blocker. Rather, he's barely competent at both aspects of being a tight end.

That might be enough to earn him a spot on most rosters in the league, but the Patriots are especially deep at the position and don’t have room on the roster for Fells, especially if stars Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski come back healthy and productive this year.

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4. Leon Washington

Leon Washington
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Leon Washington was a free agent signing this past March. The Patriots brought the veteran running back in to fill a backup role and to help out in the kick return game. Washington has been a productive special teams player in his career, but has never shown the skills to be an impact ball carrier out of the backfield.

What was once considered a position of weakness for New England, running back is now one of the deepest spots on the depth chart. Steven Ridley had a breakout year in 2012, and Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden both show promise.

There will be only so many spots on the team at the position, and what Washington brings to the team in the kicking game shouldn't be enough to keep him over one of the other young, promising backs.

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3. Niko Koutouvides

Niko Koutouvides
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Niko Koutouvides is a journeyman linebacker out of Purdue University who has spent time with four teams in his 10 year NFL career.

He's currently slotted as a backup outside linebacker in the Pats' base 3-4 system, but with the talent the team has added to the position in the last few years, there doesn’t seem to be much room left for a player of Koutouvides' stature.

The coaching staff might like his hard working, do anything the team asks style, but in the end, if he can't bring more than that to the table he'll find it very tough to still be wearing a Patriots uniform come this fall.

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2. Steve Gregory

Steve Gregory
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Gregory is the kind of player that is really hard to cut.

He works as hard as anyone, and gets every ounce out of his talent. After coming into the league as an unsigned free agent with the San Diego Chargers, he worked his way into becoming a solid contributor.

But, despite all that he can bring to the team, the signing of former pro bowl player Adrian Wilson, at his safety position, means that he might not have a spot on the roster this year.

There's a chance that the team will keep him around as a backup and special teams player, but it's more likely that kind of spot would go to a younger player that has more upside if given a chance.

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1. Will Svitek

Will Svitek
Fernando Medina-USA TODAY Sports

Wil Svitek, an offensive tackle originally from the Czech Rebublic, has spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Falcons since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2005 draft.

Never able to solidify himself as a quality pass protector, the Patriots brought him in this past March to provide depth on the offensive line.

Backup offensive lineman might not sound like a roster spot that needs to be valued highly, but in fact, those backups often find themselves called into duty at one point or another during the year. If New England can't find a more capable body to block for franchise quarterback Tom Brady, it is going to be in trouble.