The New England Patriots may have traded N’Keal Harry, but the organization still has some moves they will have to make before the start of the 2022 regular season.
Training camp is just a week away meaning that coaches will get to see what players are capable of as they prepare to make cuts prior to the regular season and become salary cap compliant.
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Andy Hart of WEEI tackled the tough job of trying to project surprise cuts that could be made by the Patriots and two prominent players were mentioned.
Who Was the First Player That Hart Mentioned?
“The veteran cornerback was out of football a year ago,” Hart states. “Now, he’s back and penciled in as a starting cornerback where his unique career began in New England. Butler appears to be in very good shape. He looked plenty competitive in the spring. But he’s still a 32-year-old cornerback who was retired a year ago. That leaves enough uncertainty to put the former Super Bowl hero on the list. Butler would leave $750,000 in dead cap money if cut according to Spotrac.”
Butler definitely fits the bill of a surprising cut. After losing J.C. Jackson, Butler seems primed to be New England’s top corner. While he is coming off of retirement, the Patriots will likely rely on Butler a lot this upcoming season (if he is on the roster).
Who Else Did Hart Mention?
Another option that Hart mentions as a surprise cut candidate is Nelson Agholor.
“Financially, cutting Agholor is really tough to swallow as it would leave a $10 million dead cap hit for one of last year’s big-money free agent signings,” Hart wrote. “With $9 million of that money salary, New England would probably love to try to work out some sort of a trade to ease the burden, but that may be difficult. Agholor was a big time disappointment in 2021. There is hope that he might move into more of a slot role in 2022 and that could increase his production. Still, it’s not hard to think the Patriots receiver depth chart could fill out with DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, Tyquan Thornton and maybe Nixon, leaving Agholor as an expensive man without much of a role. The finances probably keep the veteran in the mix, though.”
Agholor struggled in his debut season with New England. The wide receiver only had 37 receptions for 473 yards and three touchdowns.
Agholor is in the final year of a two-year deal worth $22 million. His production last season makes that deal look like a massive overpay.
If both of these players were to be cut, Patriots fans would likely be surprised by the decision and would start scratching their heads. These moves would also be quite costly and the decision to cut Butler would leave a hole in the secondary.
With Bill Belichick at the helm, a surprise cut wouldn’t be surprising but if Butler or Agholor got the ax, fans would be surprised.
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