The Patriots have released wide receiver Nate Washington, according to a league source.

The Patriots have released wide receiver Nate Washington, according to a league source.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder out of Tiffin was signed by the Patriots in March as a veteran free agent, and has been in the league 11 seasons, six of them with the Titans, four with the Steelers and one with the Texans. The 32-year-old has 458 career catches for 6,954 yards and 44 touchdowns. He had the best season of his career in 2011 with Tennessee, when he finished with 74 catches for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns.

Washington struggled to stay on the field consistently over the course of the summer, and was faced with serious competition at the back end of the receiver depth chart.

Tom Curran of Comcast Sports Net first reported the news.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

The Patriots are set to release center Bryan Stork, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Bryan Stork

Bryan Stork

The Patriots are set to release center Bryan Stork, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

The 25-year-old Stork was a fourth-round pick out of Florida State in 2014, and had a terrific start to his NFL career, helping stabilize the New England offensive line at a key point that season. He played very well through that stretch, so well that we gave the 6-foot-4, 314-pounder our Franchise Rookie of the Year Award that season.

But an inability to stay on the field because of injury over the last year-plus — he played in only eight games in 2015 — and the ascension of undrafted free agent David Andrews combined to leave Stork on the outs.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Tom Brady hasn't played yet in the preseason and there is some question to whether he will at all. (Mark L.</p>
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Bill Belichick addresses reporters about the pending roster decisions in the weeks before the season opener Sept. 11. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — It’s a balancing act that Bill Belichick has, for the most part, mastered over his 17 years in Foxboro.

Weighing current production against potential. Weighing established veterans against younger, cheaper talent. Deciding between proven performance and future gain.

On Wall Street, it’s the stock market every day. In Foxboro, and around the NFL, the futures business can be just as dicey. And this is the busiest and riskiest time of the year. Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio have begun to trim the roster down, in an effort to reach the 75-player limit for Aug. 30 and the final 53-man limit for Sept. 3.

The Patriots must decide between the proven commodity of Donald Brown and the unknown in D.J. Foster. They must get more reps for Jonathan Jones, Justin Coleman and Cre’Von LeBlanc to see how to best round out their secondary. There are very subtle battles going on at the back end of the roster (as Chris Price noted) and those battles need exposure in games for coaches to reach difficult decisions.

The Patriots are still in an enviable position of having elite talent at the top end and trying to round out their roster with quality depth. But that job has become all the more crucial with the losses of Sebastian Vollmer (hip) and Dion Lewis (knee) and the possible downtime with players like Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich and Shaq Mason.

Belichick was asked Tuesday how difficult it is, this time of year, trying to decide whether or not to keep a player that the team may want to work with in the future or cut him at the risk of that player landing with another team.

“That’s the 64,000 dollar question. That’s what it is. It’s been like that since the day I got into this league,” Belichick said. “From all of the personnel meetings I’ve ever been in it’s a [matter of] a player who’s more experienced [and] more ready to help the team now, versus a player that’s not as ready now but at some point you think the pendulum will swing in his favor. Will you do that? Can you do that? What are the consequences of making that move? What are the consequences of not making that move? How likely, as you said, is it that you could keep both players in some capacity? That’s what it’s about, trying to balance now with later.

“We’re going to field a team in November, we’re going to field a team next year, we’re going to field a team in 2018. Not that we’re getting too far ahead of ourselves, but we’re going to be in business in those years, so we have to sort of have an eye on those moving forward and a lot of the other factors that go into that. Those are all tough decisions. They’re all things that you really have to think about. It’s no different than acquiring – well it’s different – but it’s the same thing as acquiring a player.

“So, if you acquire a player who are you acquiring – a young player for an older player, an older player for a younger player, help now versus help later, development versus known performance – and so forth. They’re all interrelated but it really gets back to the same key points. When its close it’s tough. If it’s not close then it’s not really a tough decision. It’s a relatively easy decision, but the ones that are close, some people in the room want to have one opinion, other people have another opinion. You kind of have a split camp there and both sides’ arguments are good arguments. It’s kind of your perspective. Is it today or is it tomorrow? I’m sure every team in the league is having a lot of those discussions about eight, 10 players; five and five, whatever it is, four and four, but that kind of thing.”

Belichick and company released three players apiece on Monday and Tuesday, letting go of Bear Pascoe, V’Angelo Bentley and Cedric Thompson Monday and veterans Donald Brown, E.J. Biggers and Frank Kearse on Tuesday. Now comes the tricky part, finding reps for the younger players who get the chance to get more reps to convince the coaching staff they belong.

“The whole thing is really a balancing act between getting your team ready and evaluating players,” Belichick said Tuesday. “Of course, it’s always good when you can evaluate – especially by this third preseason game, fourth preseason game – evaluate players against known players. It’s one thing to play them in the fourth quarter against other players who don’t really have much of a track record in the NFL, whereas if you put them in at other points of the game you’d be able to see them against a guy that you have a lot better idea of what their skills are and how a young player would matchup on that. But you have to get your team ready, so there’s definitely a balance between that. We’re just not looking at people; we’re trying to get ready to play football.

Every year at this time, the Patriots also scour the waiver wire and keep lines open with other teams to discuss potential trades.

“There is a lot of player movement at this time of year,” Belichick added. “There is going to be a ton, more than any other time during the calendar year, from Tuesday to Sunday, so within that five, six, seven day period and the days surrounding it I’m sure there will be a lot of activity. Let’s call it in that 10-day period, that’ll probably be 90 percent of the transactions the entire year other than the draft. So yeah, it is busy. We talk about it on a regular basis, try to keep up with it. Between the preseason game, this game, the Giants game, the Arizona game, even the Miami game – that’s a new staff – roster decisions, other team’s personnel, conversations, however you want to characterize that, the wheel is spinning pretty fast this time of year for the coaching staff and for the personnel department. It’s just that time of year.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Tom Brady is going through a wholly new series of challenges this preseason. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)FOXBORO -- These are strange days for Tom Brady.



Tom Brady didn't have much to offer on what he will do during his Deflategate suspension. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Tom Brady didn’t have much to offer on what he will do during his Deflategate suspension. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — With Tom Brady suspended the first four games of the season because of Deflategate, many have speculated what he will do during those weeks as he isn’t allowed to be at the Gillette Stadium facility, or have any contact with his teammates.

Some have thought he might call former teammates Randy Moss and Wes Welker to work out with him to keep him in as close to game shape as possible.

On Tuesday Brady was asked directly what he will do during that time and the quarterback said he hadn’t really thought about it.

“I haven’t put much thought into it,” Brady said. “It’s been busy, obviously with the practices and so forth. We’ve still got a couple important weeks for this training and for this phase of the season. I want to put all my effort and thoughts into this week and next week, try to go out and play in a couple good preseason games, see if I can get some of that game action and then deal with that when it comes.”

After Sept. 3, eight days before the season opener, Brady will leave Gillette Stadium and not be back until Oct. 3, six days before the team’s Oct. 9 game in Cleveland.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick is a man of his word.

During his first press conference before training camp, Belichick said Jimmy Garoppolo being ready for Sept. 11 in Arizona would be the priority during training camp and the preseason.

Bill Belichick said nothing has changed when it comes to his team's quarterbacks in the preseason. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick said nothing has changed when it comes to his team’s quarterbacks in the preseason. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick is a man of his word.

During his first press conference before training camp, Belichick said Jimmy Garoppolo being ready for Sept. 11 in Arizona would be the priority during training camp and the preseason.

Tuesday, he was asked again about the quarterbacks and he gave essentially the same answer.

“Nothing’s changed,” Belichick said. “All three quarterbacks are extremely important. Jimmy’s preparation for the Arizona opener is the most important. Nothing’s changed, and that’s not going to change. That’s the way it’s going to be.”

Tom Brady hasn’t played in any of the two preseason games, while Garoppolo started both, although last Thursday was unexpected after Brady cut his thumb with scissors before the game.

Belichick was also pressed on why Brady left the stadium and didn’t stay for the game.

“Some are, some aren’t, but what difference does it make?” Belichick said when asked if injured players stay at the stadium during games. “It doesn’t make any difference. Guys that are out there playing are playing, guys that aren’t are doing something else, whatever that happens to be. They could be doing treatment, they could be at home, they could be here, they could be in the press box. It depends on what their situation is and what they need to do.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable