Patriots release Isaac Sopoaga

The New England Patriots released veteran defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga and second-year offensive lineman Markus Zusevics on Wednesday.

The move to cut Sopoaga had been expected, as he had slipped down the depth chart and was inactive for the team's final two 2013 regular-season games and both playoff contests. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $3.5 million.

Sopoaga will still receive a $1 million guarantee for 2014 as part of the contract that the Patriots inherited when they acquired him from the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 29, 2013. The move gives the Patriots added salary-cap flexibility and reflects how the trade with the Eagles didn't produce the desired results. New England will save $2.5 million by releasing Sopoaga.

The Patriots, facing a significant run of injuries at defensive tackle, shipped a 2014 fifth-round draft choice for Sopoaga and a 2014 sixth-round pick at the trade deadline. Sopoaga played in six games, with two starts, last season. Coaches credited him with two tackles and he added one sack and one pass defended.

Zusevics was a long shot to make the roster after spending the 2013 season on injured reserve.

Zusevics, who played in college at Iowa, had originally signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in May 2012. After tearing his pectoral muscle at the NFL combine, he opened the 2012 season on the reserve/non-football injury list before he was added to the team's 53-man roster (in place of receiver Greg Salas) to add depth to a banged-up offensive line. He never appeared in a regular-season game with the team.