With the Patriots releasing 2008 third-round draft choice Shawn Crable today, it slightly alters the team's competition at outside linebacker.
Crable looked like he was on the roster bubble entering training camp.
When analyzing the team's personnel at outside linebacker, Tully Banta-Cain and 2010 second-round draft choice Jermaine Cunningham were two locks entering training camp. One would assume that veteran Derrick Burgess, who returned on a one-year, $1.65 million contract, will also find his way on the club.
So that leaves Pierre Woods (5th year), Rob Ninkovich (5th year) and Marques Murrell (4th year) vying for a fourth and possibly fifth spot on the roster. They are players who have not been starting-caliber options but add depth and special-teams value.
Crable figured to be in the competition among that group, with the hope that perhaps he could grow into a larger role with a clean bill of health.
With him no longer in the mix, it shines the spotlight a bit brighter on Cunningham (can he contribute quickly?), Ninkovich (could he be a late bloomer who could take on more snaps?) and Burgess (can he play the position after mostly being a 4-3 end?).