The New England Patriots have completed their first round of cuts, trimming the roster down to the required 75 players. The cuts made include: WR Kamar Aiken, CBs Brandon Jones and LeQuan Lewis, LS Mike Zupancic, LB Niko Koutouvides, DL Anthony Rashad White and TE Evan Landi.
In addition, the team placed DL Cody Grissom and OL Markus Zusevics on IR, while DL Armond Armstead and WR Mark Harrison were placed on the reserve/non-football injury list.
While many of these cuts come as no surprise, one of them should be a bit of a head-scratcher to fans that really follow the Patriots. That is, as you might have guessed, the release of Koutouvides. While he is anything but a household name, he has always been a very productive special teamer across the NFL. He has played nine years, and is highly coveted across the league.
Although he is not a contributor on the Patriots’ core defense, releasing a player that is as consistent on special teams as Koutouvides is a dangerous move to make. Just ask the San Francisco 49ers two seasons ago, as special teams mistakes cost them a chance at a Super Bowl title in 2011.
According to several media outlets, the Patriots would welcome back Koutouvides with open arms if they were to find space on their roster later on, but there is no guarantee that he will be available at that point.
Cutting ties with Koutouvides is risky for the Patriots if they are assuming that he will be back due to a lack of interest around the league. That is simply not the case. Teams will probably jump to sign him now after his productive stint with the Patriots. Special teams is one area that the Patriots have succeeded in consistently. They cannot afford to get rid of their core special teamers at this point in time.
Do you think it is a mistake for the Patriots to cut Koutouvides? Should they bring him back if the opportunity presents itself? Should they keep him on the free agent list? Is this move insignificant to you? Feel free to comment on the subject in the “comments” section below.
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