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Pats release Bobby Carpenter

New Orleans Saints v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 9: Bobby Carpenter #59 of the New England Patriots looks on during a preseason game against the Orleans Saints in the first half at Gillette Stadium on August 9, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Getty Images

With receiver Greg Salas joining the Pats via trade from the Rams and New England getting offensive lineman Matt Tennant on waivers from the Saints, the Patriots needed to clear one roster spot. (They had only 52 on Friday after the cut-down dust settled.)

The Pats cleared that spot by cutting linebacker Bobby Carpenter.

Carpenter, a Bill Parcells’ first-round pick in Dallas six years ago, appeared in 16 games with three starts for the Lions last season. Carpenter’s interception return for a touchdown against the Cowboys helped fuel a stunning second-half comeback last October.

Carpenter immediately becomes a free agent. Since he’s a vested veteran, he could be signed by the Pats or someone else after Week One, at which time his full salary wouldn’t be fully guaranteed. He was due to earn $700,000 with the Patriots.