The Patriots made some surprising cuts today as they trim their roster down to 53. They let go of Deion Branch, backup QB Brian Hoyer, veteran lineman Dan Koppen, and UMass DB James Ihedigbo.
Cutting Branch surprises me, especially after the Pats parted ways with Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney. Branch seemed to have the #3 WR spot to himself, behind Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd on the depth chart.
Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if this were some way to reduce Branch's guaranteed money or something. Cut him, then sign him back. The Pats do stuff like this. If Branch really wasn't up to the Pats' standards, why wait until today to release him?
I'm surprised to see Hoyer cut. The Patriots might want to replace him with a veteran. If Brady gets hurt and misses an extended portion of the season, the Pats are essentially sunk. But if it's just a few games or half a game, then a veteran is preferable.
Does the release of Dan Koppen mean that Brian Waters is back? If Waters isn't back, the Patriots need Koppen. So maybe this cut signifies that they don't need him because Waters will play.
I don't fully understand these moves, but I have faith in the Patriots and Belichick.