The New England Patriots cut ties with the veterans Tommy Kelly, Will Smith and James Anderson on Sunday, reports EPSN’s Adam Schefter. Both Kelly and Smith had been hindered in working their way back from injuries last season. Anderson was far from stellar in training camp.
Kelly, a longtime defensive tackle, played in just five games for the Patriots last season before suffering a devastating ACL injury that required surgery. He had spent the prior nine years of his career with the Oakland Raiders. He was expected to battle it out for a spot along the interior defensive line with Joe Vellano, Chris Jones, Vince Wilfork and rookie Dominique Easley.
Smith, like Kelly, also was coming of a torn ACL. He missed all of 2013, but was a member of the New Orleans Saints for 10 years. Smith wasn’t expected to see a whole lot of playing time with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich manning the ends in the Patriots 3-4 defensive system. He signed a one-year deal back in May.
Anderson was also sent packing by coach Bill Belichick. The former Carolina Panther and Chicago Bear had signed a one-year deal back in June. He was brought with the idea of providing depth among the linebacking corps. Anderson projected as a backup for Jerod Mayo and Jamie Collins. His lack of versatility likely played a major role in the decision.
The moves come ahead of Tuesday’s league mandated roster cuts. Belichick will be forced to trim his 90-man roster down to 75. They then will have to reduce their roster to 53 players by Saturday.