With the new league year starting next week, teams are getting their houses in order by dispatching players who are under contract and out of their plans for monetary or performance reasons.
The Patriots joined that group on Wednesday. According to multiple reports, they have released wide receiver Brandon LaFell and tight end Scott Chandler.
LaFell spent two seasons with the Patriots and played a significant role in their offense on the way to their Super Bowl XLIX victory over the Seahawks. LaFell caught 74 passes for 953 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2014 regular season before adding 13 more catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs. One of those touchdowns produced the first points of the Super Bowl and LaFell had another catch to set up Julian Edelman’s go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
A foot injury kept him out early in 2015 and problems holding onto the ball that included six drops in a game against the Jets kept him from repeating his success of the previous year once he was healthy. His departure saves the team $2.675 million under the cap.
Chandler signed with the Patriots as a free agent last year and his arrival created some hype about two tight end packages with Rob Gronkowski, but Chandler had minimal impact for New England. He didn’t have a catch in the last four weeks of the regular season or in either postseason game, which likely made it easy for the Patriots to decide to move on and pocket over $2 million in cap space.