The New England Patriots signed wide receiver Donald Jones to a three-year deal in March, but he will not get the chance to suit up for the four-time defending AFC East Champions. The Patriots informed Jones today that he will be released.
According to multiple sources, the Patriots made the decision to cut Jones in order to clear the deck – in terms of playing time – for young receivers on the roster. The young wide receiving core includes 2013 draft picks Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce and undrafted rookie free agents Kenbrell Thompkins and Mark Harrison.
Danny Amendola is expected to be the No. 1 wide receiver, with fifth-year wideout Julian Edelman expected to have a huge role in the offense as well. Outside of Amendola and Edelman, there are major questions surrounding the wide receiver position. It is uncertain who will get the most playing time behind Amendola and Edelman. Veteran wideouts Michael Jenkins and Lavelle Hawkins could be released soon, especially if the team plans on accentuating their young receivers in the offensive schemes.
The Patriots are making a sensible decision by focusing on their young talent in the offense. Dobson, Boyce and even Thompkins, who took first-team reps by the end of mandatory mini-camp, have bright futures in the NFL. It is senseless for the Patriots to give valuable playing time to Jenkins and Hawkins, whom have yet to prove they can be an integral part of an offense at any point in their career.
The Patriots will rely on their young wideouts in 2013, and given their wide receiving corps, this is the smart personnel decision.