8:11am: Having lost a pair of key cornerbacks in free agency this offseason, when Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner signed elsewhere, the Patriots are continuing to overhaul the position. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the team is parting ways with three-year veteran Alfonzo Dennard, who started 20 games in New England over the last three seasons.
Dennard, 25, was limited to just six games in 2014, having been plagued by shoulder and hamstring issues. He also saw his role reduced with the arrivals of Revis and Browner, and played in just 241 regular season snaps before landing on injured reserve. While the sample size was small, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) also graded him as the Pats’ least effective coverage corner — he allowed QBs to complete 68.2% of their passes and accumulate a 111.2 passer rating on throws into his coverage.
Due to an escalator in his rookie contract, Dennard had been set to earn a base salary of $1.542MM this season after making the minimum for his first three years, so his release doesn’t come as a total surprise. He’s a candidate to be claimed on waivers, or to quickly sign elsewhere, given his age and the experience he’s had early in his NFL career.