Patriots Release Super Bowl-Winning RB

Patriots enhance roster with strategic offseason acquisitions.

by Abdullah Magsi
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Patriots Release Super Bowl-Winning RB
© Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In a series of moves aimed at refining their roster for the upcoming season, the New England Patriots have released running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, ending his brief stint with the team. Vaughn, who entered the NFL as a third-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, experienced the pinnacle of his career early, participating in a Super Bowl-winning campaign led by quarterback Tom Brady.

Despite his auspicious start, Vaughn's career has been marked by fluctuations. Following his championship season, he started in the Buccaneers' subsequent playoff opener, finding the end zone and seemingly setting the stage for a steady upward trajectory.

However, consistency eluded Vaughn, leading to his release from Tampa Bay and subsequent pickup by the Patriots late last year. Initially assigned to the practice squad, Vaughn's performance earned him a futures contract with New England.

Nevertheless, his journey with the Patriots came to an abrupt end this Monday as the team waived him during a bout of preseason adjustments that also saw the addition of four undrafted rookies: Terrell Jennings, Ryan Johnson, Jay Person, and Jotham Russell, the latter being a notable Australian addition through the International Pathways Program.

As the Patriots recalibrate their roster, the running backs room is undergoing significant changes. The team recently parted ways with Ezekiel Elliott, who rejoined the Dallas Cowboys. This departure leaves Rhamondre Stevenson as the primary back.

Despite battling injuries last year, Stevenson managed to amass 857 total yards and four touchdowns over 12 games. His performance, however, dipped from previous seasons, reflecting in a lower yard-per-carry average and a mid-tier Pro Football Focus ranking.

Gibson Bolsters Backfield

The Patriots' offseason acquisitions include Antonio Gibson, a versatile back noted for his prowess on third downs during his tenure with the Commanders. Gibson, despite a subdued performance last year, adds depth and experience to the backfield.

Looking ahead to the 2024 season, the Patriots' offensive strategy appears poised for a transformation under the guidance of new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt. Van Pelt's emphasis on enhancing the running game, particularly through outside runs, signals a strategic pivot aimed at maximizing the strengths of the offensive line and adapting to the capabilities of quarterbacks Drake Maye and Jacoby Brissett, who are both contenders for the starting role.

Mike Onwenu, the team’s offensive tackle, shared insights into the tactical shift, emphasizing a greater focus on wide-zone plays and the impact this approach will have on the linemen’s execution and the overall dynamism of the ground game.

As training camp approaches, the Patriots’ restructured offense and strategic realignments underscore their commitment to returning to form, leveraging both seasoned players and new talent to spark a competitive edge in the upcoming season.

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