By: Steve Balestrieri
The first chip has fallen in the New England Patriots off-season veteran releases and for veteran Safety Steve Gregory today was the end of the line as far as his career in New England goes.
According to his agent David Canter, Gregory, 31 originally from Brooklyn, NY will be released today saving the Patriots an estimated $2.85 million against the 2014 salary cap.
During the 2013 season, Gregory played in 14 games with 11 starts and made 79 tackles with 1 sack. He missed two games with a thumb injury. Originally an undrafted free-agent from Syracuse, the nine year veteran Gregory was due in the neighborhood of $2.85 million in salary.
Once Jerod Mayo went down with a season ending injury, the Patriots gave the ‘green-dot’ communication device to Dont’a Hightower then for a time to Gregory. In his two years in Foxboro, Gregory was frequently a lightning rod for criticism but one must remember he was frequently playing out of his natural FS position and played a more SS role that the team needed him to fulfill and wasn’t overly suited for.
With Gregory’s release, this may open the door for Duron Harmon to start and he’ll probably be given the chance but it will not surprise anyone if the Patriots address the strong safety position in either free agency, the NFL Draft in May or both.
Gregory will hardly be the lone player released as many expect the team to jettison DL Isaac Sopoaga and others such as Adrian Wilson could also be let go as well.