Selected out of Virginia with the 33rd pick in the 2011 draft, Dowling played in just nine games over two seasons with the Patriots, finishing both years on the injured reserve list.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder was a second-team All-American his final season at Virginia, and the Patriots were hopeful his size and length would pay dividends for their secondary.
But Dowling's inability to stay healthy and on the field highlighted his time in New England.
Dowling recently returned to practice after missing time because of an another undisclosed injury, but he was on the roster bubble with the depth the Patriots had built at the position. New England returned its top trio from last season in Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard, while also drafting Logan Ryan in the third round this year.
With the roster spot cleared by waiving Dowling, the Patriots claimed linebacker Ja'Gared Davis off waivers. Davis was signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in April following a standout career at SMU.