Every year, NFL teams are forced to make the difficult decision to cut various top-tier players due to a lack of room under the salary cap.
After all, it's worked before. Consider the move to bring in ex-Chargers safety Rodney Harrison for the 2003 season. After missing the playoffs in 2002, coach Bill Belichick swapped Lawyer Milloy for Harrison, and the move worked for both Harrison and the Patriots. New England jumped from 23rd in the league in yards allowed per game to seventh, while Harrison finally got his Super Bowl ring while posting 140 tackles.
This list of released players and potential cap casualties is centered mostly on the defense, with one notable offensive exception. Though health is a concern with all veteran players, these five would still serve a useful purpose in Patriot blue and silver.