FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots made a bit of a surprising move this morning, releasing veteran defensive lineman Gerard Warren. The release of Warren was made to create room for tight end Dan Gronkowski, who was officially signed this morning, as expected.
It wouldn't be surprising to see Warren return after Week 1. As a vested veteran, his full salary would have been guaranteed if he was on the roster for the first week of the season.
This decision seems to highlight the balance between having enough depth for the season-opener in all areas, as well as the 16-game regular season.
Warren obviously can help the Patriots. He was playing as part of a rotation at defensive tackle in a four-man line in the preseason, along with Albert Haynesworth, Vince Wilfork, Myron Pryor and Kyle Love, the Patriots using their linemen in waves. Warren had a good preseason by all accounts.
The Patriots have good depth at that defensive tackle spot, and must have felt they needed a third tight end for the season-opener at Miami on Sept. 12, so they trimmed from a deep area to address the tight end shortage (where only Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were on the roster after rookies Will Yeatman and Lee Smith were waived).
One other widely discussed possibility was at linebacker, where injured rookie free agent Jeff Tarpinian still holds a spot on the 53-man roster. One line of thinking is that Tarpinian could be placed on season-ending injured reserve, but the Patriots obviously feel Tarpinian is an asset who can help them this season.