FOXBORO -- The Kenny Britt experiment is over. The Patriots announced on Wednesday night that they'd released the 6-foot-3, 228-pound veteran wideout.
On the one hand, the move can't be considered a surprise. Britt himself acknowledged that he was behind his teammates thanks to all the reps he's missed this summer due to a hamstring injury. Britt was initially hurt during spring workouts -- after looking strong to that point in OTAs -- and by the time training camp practices were shut down to reporters last week, he still hadn't fully participated in an on-the-field workout.
Britt was brought aboard in December and caught two passes in the regular season. The Patriots picked up his option for 2018, and it was reported that "big things" were expected of the Rutgers product and former first-round pick. Instead, his time in New England ended with a dud.
Can't make the club from the tub, as the saying goes.
On the other hand, one thing Britt seemed to have going for him was that the rest of the Patriots receiving corps is in relatively dire straits. Or at least it looks that way.
Julian Edelman will be suspended for the first month of the season. Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson look like locks for the Week 1 roster, but after that? Plenty of question marks.
The player who may benefit the most from Britt's release is Eric Decker. Though Decker has had issues with drops since he arrived to the Patriots mid-camp, he's the most experienced receiver on the roster after the top-four (top-three not including Edelman), and his odds of making the roster may have just improved.
Decker, though, like anyone else, will at some point have to prove his value. The Patriots are deep at positions like corner and along the defensive line. Britt's release could simply make room for an additional player at one of those spots. Or it could go to a core special teamer. Or a young player with promise at a position other than receiver.
The other receivers on the Patriots roster include Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios, Devin Lucien and Paul Turner. Matthew Slater could potentially give the Patriots a body at wideout, but he's primarily a special teamer.
With a relative dearth of trustworthy wideouts available, the Patriots may be forced to rely more on their 12 and 21-personnel packages (with two tight ends and two backs, respectively) through September with Edelman out.
The argument could've been made that despite Britt's lack of practice reps, it was worth holding onto him to give the receiver group some depth going into the regular season (if Britt was healthy).
But he'd fallen behind, and in the Patriots offense, it can be difficult to make up ground once that happens. Clearly the Patriots felt as though the marriage had run its course.