Patriots' financial risk doesn't produce results with Tyler Gaffney's release

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots took a financial risk when they claimed then-rookie running back Tyler Gaffney on waivers from the Carolina Panthers in 2014.

That risk, which was moderate but not insignificant, didn't pay off.

That sums up Monday's news that the Patriots have waived Gaffney, the Stanford alum who has been snakebitten by injuries in his first two NFL seasons.

Originally selected by the Panthers in the sixth round, Gaffney sustained a knee injury early in 2014 training camp and to place him on season-ending injured reserve, Carolina first had to waive him and make him available to 31 other clubs because of NFL rules at the 90-man roster limit.

Most teams pass at claiming an injured player, because why pay his salary when he won't be playing that year?

But the Patriots were willing to do so (similar to when they did it with tight end Jake Ballard), projecting Gaffney might help in 2015 and beyond. But Gaffney, who had earned praise from Bill Belichick for his work ethic in returning from his knee injury, sustained an undisclosed injury in the first week of 2015 training camp and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Financially, the Patriots had inherited Gaffney's contract, which ran through 2018 and called for base salaries of $420,000 in 2015, $510,000 in 2016, $600,000 in 2107 and $690,000 in 2018.

By waiving him Monday, the Patriots aren't responsible for the remainder of his contract.

Sometimes a risk like that can pay off for a team, although this one didn't produce the desired results.