FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When analyzing news that defensive end Ty Warren, tight end Alge Crumpler and offensive lineman Nick Kaczur have been released, creating salary cap space appears to be one reason.
Warren was due to earn a base salary of $3.1 million, Crumpler $2.4 million and Kaczur $3.4 million.
The salary cap has been set at $120 million this year, and teams will soon have to be in compliance with that number based on the top 51 players on the roster.
Warren, a longtime starter at left defensive end who had missed the 2010 season with a hip injury, opened training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list. Kaczur was coming off a back injury and Crumpler had offseason shoulder surgery.
So all were dealing with physical ailments.
Crumpler was a captain last season, credited with helping to bring along Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The Patriots lose a strong presence in the locker room at a time in which they are bringing two strong personalities into the room (Ochocinco & Haynesworth). The Patriots now have Gronkowski, Hernandez and fifth-round draft choice Lee Smith, who was considered one of the better blocking tight ends in the draft, atop the depth chart.
With Warren no longer in the picture, the Patriots could revisit someone like free-agent Gerard Warren if they plan to keep the 3-4 alignment as a core philosophy. Or perhaps the Patriots will shift their core philosophy to tap Haynesworth's biggest strength, as a penetrating 3-technique defensive tackle, which could alter the picture.
Kaczur's release wasn't a surprise, given his salary and projection as a backup. With Light's possible return, the emergence of Sebastian Vollmer and the drafting of Nate Solder in the first round, Kaczur was going to be deep on the tackle depth chart. The Patriots had extended his contract in 2009, but didn't get much return on that investment after the deal was signed.