Reports are surfacing today that the New England Patriots are going to release safety Steve Gregory. The move doesn’t come as a big surprise for a player who has always been seen as a below-average starter at the position. Gregory, a nine-year pro who has been with the Patriots for the last two years, was due to make about $3.7 million this year and the team will get themselves $2.85 million in cap savings with the move.
The New England secondary has been a weak point on the team for several years now, and Gregory was never seen as anything but an emergency fill-in as a starter. The team might have wanted to keep him around for depth if it wasn’t for his cap number and his age. They will now be looking to the draft to bring in a younger, cheaper player at his position.
If they want to upgrade, they could look to sign someone in free agency. Jairus Byrd will be available this offseason, but he will not come cheap and the Patriots rarely like to give big money to free agents.
Another big name at safety, if the Cleveland Browns don’t slap the franchise tag on him, will be T.J. Ward. Ward is a good playmaker, but boy would that be an awkward locker room introduction when he meets Rob Gronkowski. Hopefully he won’t go low and take out his knee again.
The Patriots’ defense was looking better than ever last year before injuries took their toll, and this season they want to be even better. The release of Gregory isn’t terribly surprising, but now they have to find a quality replacement for him.