The Patriots were in a position where it was a challenge to practice effectively because of their shortage at linebacker. The acquisition of Burgess (10 games, no starts) should help.
In trading for Burgess and waiving first-year center/guard Ryan Wendell, the Pats redistribute the personnel on the roster. Wendell was one of three interior backups, and while the team would presumably have liked to keep him, the need at linebacker trumps the luxury of doing so.
Wendell, who was active for the team's first two games, could return on the practice squad.
New England must also now fill Wendell's void on the kickoff return team, where he lined up in the wedge position along with tight end Chris Baker and linebacker/defensive end Tully Banta-Cain.
As for Burgess, the Patriots acquire his rookie contract. He is signed through the 2009 season and has a base salary of $460,000 for the season.
He should fit immediately on special teams, and given the current shortage at linebacker, it wouldn't be surprising if he ultimately earns playing time on defense.
Mike Reiss first started covering the Patriots in 1997 with the team's official newspaper, Patriots Football Weekly, before moving on to the MetroWest Daily News in his hometown of Framingham. From 2005 to 2009, he covered the Patriots for The Boston Globe, while also writing on the NFL. He started his popular Patriots blog in 2004. Send any questions or comments for Mike to his mailbag. Follow him on Twitter here.