The Patriots will have a revamped wide receiver corps this season. It just won't look at all as expected.
Just days after cutting ties with Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth, the Patriots also released veteran receiver Deion Branch in a somewhat shocking move, CBSSports.com confirmed.
"Truly thankful for all the support from everybody," Branch Tweeted after his release. "I Love You guys."
Branch entered camp on the bubble in what was once a crowded receiver corps but appeared to separate himself from the pack after catching four passes for a team-high 64 yards during the preseason, a notion that was seemingly cemented when Stallworth and Gaffney were let go in the first round of cuts.
Branch, 33, re-signed with the Patriots this summer after catching 51 passes for 702 yards with 5 touchdowns last year. He said that he received offers from other teams during the offseason but wanted to finish his career in New England.
New England also released Anthony Gonzalez and Chad Johnson this summer.
Notable cuts: QB Brian Hoyer (4th season, Michigan State) -- He was considered one of the top backups in the league last season, but he struggled during the preseason (22 of 47, 196 yards) and was beaten out by Ryan Mallet for the backup job. ... S James Ihedigbo (6th season, UMass) -- A starter last year on defense, Ihedigbo seemed to be a lock to make the team but became expendable after the emergence of rookie safety Nate Ebner. ... C Dan Koppen (10th season, Boston College) -- Longtime center fell behind Dan Connolly on the depth chart and lacks the versatility to play elsewhere on the line.
QB Brian Hoyer (4th season, Michigan State; S James Ihedigbo (6th season, Massachusetts); WR Deion Branch (11th season, Louisville); DE Aaron Lavarias (2nd year, Idaho); DB Derrick Martin (6th year, Wyoming); S Sergio Brown (3rd season, Notre Dame); OL Darrion Weems (rookie, Oregon); FB Eric Kettani (4th season, Navy); TE Alex Silvestro (2nd season, Rutgers); OL Derek Dennis (rookie, Temple); OL Jeremiah Warren (rookie, South Florida); WR Jeremy Ebert (rookie, Northwestern); TE Tyler Urban (rookie, West Virginia); WR Kerry Taylor (2nd year, Arizona State); OL Dustin Waldron (rookie, Portland State); DE Marcus Harrison (4th year, Arkansas); WR Jesse Holley (3rd year, North Carolina); OL Matt Kopa (3rd year, Stanford); LB Niko Koutouvides (9th year, Purdue); DB Malcolm Williams (2nd year, Texas Christian); LB Jeff Tarpinian (2nd year, Iowa); C Dan Koppen (10th season, Boston College).
Other moves: Injured reserve -- RB Jeff Demps (rookie, Florida, leg injury).