When the New England Patriots released veteran safety Steve Gregory on Feb. 28, they willingly depleted their depth at the position, in part because of financial considerations.
Patrick Chung's re-signing (projected at a fraction of the cost of Gregory) brings the numbers back to their previous level, and here’s how we’d break down the team’s personnel at the position:
Devin McCourty ($3.92 million)
Duron Harmon ($495,000)
On the bubble
Patrick Chung (projected minimum of $730,000)
Adrian Wilson ($1.5 million)
Special teams only
Kanorris Davis ($495,000)
Nate Ebner ($570,000)
Tavon Wilson ($773,344)
QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: Chung’s return, from this viewpoint, is more aligned with a player like 2012 second-round pick Tavon Wilson than it is through the lens of a starting role. Wilson’s salary spikes to $773,344 this season, and he slid into the special-teams-only category in 2013, his second season. The Patriots likely view Chung as a capable special-teams player, and emergency starter in the event of injury, whose limitations were apparent as he fell out of favor in New England in 2012 and with the Eagles last year. In that sense, he would be competing more against Wilson for a spot on the roster, with no guarantees of making the club. This is more about depth than anything, and seeing how the competition unfolds. Expect another domino to fall, and perhaps more than one, at this position.