NFL New England Patriots

Top 5 Release Candidates For New England Patriots

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Top 5 Release Candidates For Patriots

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes a player does not work out for a certain team, and other times that player's salary is not worth keeping him on the roster. There are players like that on every team, even on the New England Patriots.

Despite making it to the AFC Championship Game for the third consecutive season, the Patriots are not without some weaknesses on the roster. Certain players have just proven ineffective or injury-prone, so when it comes to shaping up the salary cap these types of players have to be considered candidates to get the boot.

The NFL is a season-to-season league. What a player was two seasons ago is not what he was last season and so on. That is why contracts are essentially season-to-season as well. Most of the guaranteed money that players get is up front, usually in the form of a signing bonus and other guaranteed money in the first and second season of a contract.

After that, a player's status truly becomes year-to-year. It is all about how much the player is worth. If the dead money (money that the player has left to be paid) is greater than the cap hit for a particular season, the player will likely stay. If it is the other way around then that player might be cut. So unless the player isn't worth taking a financial blow he will be gone.

In the case of the Patriots, Nick Caserio will also have to dish out new contracts to some of the other players on the roster. Guys like Nate Solder, Shane Vereen and Devin McCourty are entering the final years of their rookie contracts and deserve long-term deals. Meanwhile, guys like Aqib Talib and Julian Edelman are pending unrestricted free agents who are candidates to be re-signed.

Either way you cut it, Caserio is going to have to free up some money. Here is a list of five guys he could release in order to do so.

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5. Kyle Arrington

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Arrington's reason for a possible release has to do with his ineffective play. It might not be very likely, though, as Arrington still carries $4.875 million in dead money versus a $3.625 million cap hit in 2014. That would essentially mean a loss of $1.2 million.

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4. Steve Gregory

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Gregory's savings would be $2.35 million, but he is still a decent player. However, considering that McCourty is due for a new contract and that Duron Harmon looked good while on the field, Gregory could be seen as expendable.

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3. Tommy Kelly

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Cutting Kelly would save $2.5 million and seems fairly likely considering his age (33) and the fact that he is coming off of a torn right ACL.

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2. Dan Connolly

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Connolly's savings are almost a cool $3 million which makes him a near lock to either be released or take a pay-cut. He is just simply not a starting-caliber right guard.

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1. Vince Wilfork

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Now we arrive to the mothership of savings. Releasing Wilfork would save a whole $8 million. This just has to be done as a 32-year-old defensive tackle coming off of a torn Achilles is not worth that kind of hit.