Less than a month after signing a contract to return to New England, linebacker Brandon Spikes will find himself back on the open market. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Patriots are releasing Spikes. The team has since confirmed the transaction.
The move comes immediately on the heels of a weekend report about a potential run-in with the law for Spikes. A car registered to the veteran linebacker was found abandoned on I-495 in Foxborough, Mass., early Sunday morning, according to FOX 25. An OnStar representative told Massachusetts State Police that the driver reported hitting a deer, but no deer was found in the vicinity and the car had front-end damage.
A short time later, police responded to a hit-and-run report nearby. The occupants, who said they were rear-ended by a car they didn’t see, were treated for minor injuries at an area hospital. While it’s not clear yet if Spikes was driving the abandoned vehicle, or if he’ll face any sort of charges, Massachusetts law indicates that fleeing a hit-and-run scene in which human injuries occurred carries up to two years in jail, tweets Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann.
Releasing Spikes won’t cost the Patriots much, as his one-year contract included only $25K in guaranteed money, in the form of a signing bonus. The team may revisit the free agent market in an effort to find some additional veteran depth at the linebacker position, but Spikes wasn’t expected to have a huge role for the team in 2015.
As for the linebacker himself, now that he has been officially released, he’s immediately free to sign elsewhere. Considering teams weren’t exactly in a rush to add him earlier in the offseason though, I expect clubs will wait for more clarity on Spikes’ legal situation before considering pursuing him.
Connor Byrne contributed to this post.