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Jabar Gaffney: New England Patriots Release Veteran WR

June 12, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Jabar Gaffney (10) runs for a pass during mini camp at the Gillette Stadium practice facility. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2012

Jabar Gaffney's second stint with the New England Patriots has come to a close, and we haven't even reached the regular season.

The shock surrounding this decision was echoed by NFL Network reporter Albert Breer on Thursday:

Wow ... Patriots release WR Jabar Gaffney.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 27, 2012

Releasing Gaffney is a puzzling choice by New England's front office. He only had two catches for 18 yards so far in preseason action, but he's an 11-year veteran and familiar with the Patriots' way of doing things.

Last season Gaffney had 68 catches, 947 yards and five touchdowns for the Washington Redskins. That performance prompted the Patriots to bring Gaffney back to the place he called home from 2006-08.

During his three-year stint with New England, he had 85 catches, 1,059 yards and eight touchdowns. He worked primarily out of the slot and found a home in the soft spot of the opposing defense's zone.

Gaffney was one of the most experienced players on the Patriots' roster, regardless of talent. New England will now depend on veteran receivers Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Deion Branch to help provide stability and leadership to the receiving corps.

Gaffney's size (6'2'', 200 pounds), experience and capable hands would be a solid addition to many teams across the league. He's a cheap, but capable, option and those can be tough to find.

With Gaffney out of the mix, look for the Patriots to give Jeremy Ebert and Jesse Holley more looks on offense.

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