Patriots release Scott Chandler and Brandon LaFell
The New England Patriots have released both tight end Scott Chandler and wide receiver Brandon LaFell according to Adam Schefter and Mike Reiss of ESPN. This is not surprising news coming out of Foxborough, seeing how both players were given significant chances to be real impact players due to injuries from other offensive pieces in 2015. However, both players failed to capitalize and now find themselves looking for a job.
Scott Chandler came in last offseason after parting ways with the Buffalo Bills, where he made his name in the league for four seasons, mostly tearing apart the Patriots defense twice a year. Therefore, when the Patriots signed him last March, and the Foxborough Faithful began dreaming of the possibility of the, “double tight end” threat like their team had in 2010-2012, with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Nevertheless, Chandler simply did not have the athleticism to makes plays in the first 90-yards of gridiron, but could only make a catch or two inside the 10-yard line. He finished his only season in New England with 15 games played, with 23 receptions, for 259 yards, and four touchdowns. With nine NFL seasons under his belt, and having crossed the age of 30, Scott Chandler may be seeing his professional football career come to a close.
Brandon LaFell is the bigger disappointment with these two players. In 2014, the Patriots signed Brandon LaFell to a three-year nine-million-dollar contract after he spent his first four years as a solid slot receiver in Carolina. He came in during his first season with the Patriots, and he was phenomenal. He finished the 2014 season with 74 receptions, for 953 yards, and seven touchdown receptions.
Add to that some big-time plays in the postseason, including a game-winning touchdown against Baltimore in the divisional round, and a touchdown catch in the Super Bowl against Seattle. Without a doubt, the Patriots don’t win Super Bowl XLIX without Brandon “Jojo” LaFell.
2015 is where it all went downhill for LaFell. He started the season on the physically unable to perform list with an ankle injury, and might as well have stayed there for the rest of the season because he was virtually invisible. His first game back against the Jets made him a laughing stalk after he dropped nearly every pass thrown his way, and he was unable to separate from defenders for the rest of the season.
LaFell finished his second year in Foxborough with only 37 receptions, for 515 yards, and zero touchdowns. With Julian Edelman missing the second half of the year, the chances were there for LaFell to make plays, but for the most part he seemed disinterested. Whether it was injury related or not is now the big question. Don’t be surprised if he ends up back in Carolina. They are desperate for a wide receiver next to Kelvin Benjamin.
The Patriots now are clearing out some salary-cap room heading into free agency next week. The current player to keep an eye out for now is Danny Amendola, and whether or not he is willing to restructure his contract. If not, he too will be released. The Patriots are now even more in need of offensive help, and they could find that in names such as Mohammed Sanu and Travis who will more than likely be available once free agency begins.