The release of Dominique Easley last month was a shock and it was followed quickly by predictions Easley wouldn’t be without a team for long.
It’s been close to a month, though, and Easley still hasn’t latched on anywhere else. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported Easley did have recent a visit with the Bengals but the lack of serious interest even now, more than 10 days since the NFL Draft is surprising.
A first-round pick in 2014, Easley’s injury issues with the Patriots were part of the reason he was released. But he also had a temperamental streak and wanted to do things – practice, rehab, train – the way he wanted to do them.
In short, I heard from more than one source that he was a pain in the ass and wasn’t going to be a great locker-room influence going forward. But I also heard from sources that loved Easley’s on-field energy and playing style. There’s no debate about his ability. When healthy.
Would the Patriots have tolerated Easley longer if he wasn’t so injury prone? Maybe. Probably. And he probably would have been more with the program if he wasn’t away from the program due to injury.
But now that he’s unattached Easley has a few things against him in the short-term. First, teams just came through the draft. They added players there. They’ve been adding since March and the outset of free agency. Rosters are full to bursting.
Second, every team with real interest is going to give a hard look at Easley’s medical reports and will be evaluating not just where he is with his quad injury but how well his body is going to hold up going forward. Team medical staffs have their reps on the line with those reviews. Pass a guy who breaks down and a little confidence erodes. The best Easley can probably hope for will be a year-to-year, incentive-laden deal. Lastly, teams are going to have to decide if a player who got shown the gate by the Patriots have a strong enough locker room to bring in Easley and not be impacted if he’s remains a bit of a renegade.
Honestly, you know which team would be a perfect fit for Easley? A team with a strong room, demanding coaches and one that every player in the NFL knows can be a place where careers go to be revitalized of die?
New England. Whether the bridge was burned or not, I don’t know. But the bridge is most certainly “out” until further notice.