Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC East [Print without images]

Saturday, November 23, 2013
Follow-up thoughts on Washington release

By Mike Reiss

A few follow-up thoughts on the release of veteran kickoff returner Leon Washington and the promotion of practice squad cornerback Justin Green:

Washington
Didn't work out with Washington: The Patriots initially signed Washington to a one-year, $1.2 million contract with a $360,000 signing bonus in the offseason. He was cut before the season opener and then brought back. Injuries to his thigh and ankle contributed to it not working out, as he only played in two games and had a limited impact. He could still return down the line, but at this time, needs at other spots trumped the team's willingness to keep him on the roster.

Kickoff return role to Boyce, Blount: Washington's primary value on the roster came as a kickoff returner, as he was the NFC's Pro Bowl representative in that role while playing for the Seahawks last year. The Patriots mostly used LeGarrette Blount in the role through the first eight games of the season before turning to speedy rookie Josh Boyce for the first time this past Monday. Looks like it could be Boyce's job going forward.

Comparing Washington and Woodhead: It wasn't necessarily a 1-for-1 exchange, but when looking at the signing of Washington, and comparing it to the contract Danny Woodhead received in San Diego, it seems fair to say this is a decision the Patriots would like to have back. The Patriots projected a larger role this year for Shane Vereen as the "passing back" and also had a desire to improve their kickoff return game, and that probably contributed to them setting a harder line in negotiations with Woodhead. In retrospect, the view from here is that it didn't work out the way they planned.

Green adds depth in secondary: The Broncos run most of their plays out of a three-receiver package, which means the Patriots will almost exclusively be in their sub packages (5 or 6 defensive backs). With four top defensive backs on the injury report (Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, Steve Gregory), and uncertainty if they will either play or make it through the game, the Patriots needed to address depth/insurance in the secondary. This was something foreshadowed Friday.