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Paul's Calls: Gaffney, Stallworth sent packing

Bill Belichick often includes some veterans in the first round of cuts and Monday was no exception. With the team needing to get to the league-mandated 75-man roster limit by 4 p.m., the Patriots announced a wave of transactions, and there were some surprises among them.

Among the five players who were released were wide receivers Donte' Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney. Both figured to have a chance to add some depth to the receiving corps but are now out of work after inconsistent camps for each. Defensive linemen Gerard Warren also fell into the veteran category. Warren was similarly sent packing a year ago but returned to play in 11 games for the team. It would be reasonable to assume he could return once again if the need for a veteran defensive lineman arises.

Defensive back Ross Ventrone and defensive lineman Tim Bulman also were let go while defensive back Will Allen, safety Josh Barrett and fullback Spencer Larsen were placed on injured reserve. Three more injured players rounded out the moves as tight end Jake Ballard (knee) and defensive lineman Myron Pryor (shoulder) were placed on reserve/PUP and rookie offensive lineman Markus Zusevics (torn pectoral) was placed on reserve/NFI.

In addition, the Patriots claimed 23-year-old wide receiver Kerry Taylor off waivers from the Vikings. Taylor spent some time in New England a year ago, serving a week on the practice squad last September. The former Arizona State wideout has spent time on the practice squads for San Francisco and Minnesota.

Clearly Belichick is not happy with the production of his receiving corps. Stallworth had several opportunities to make plays in the Eagles game Aug. 20 but failed, then played well into the fourth quarter at Tampa Aug. 24 after the regulars had left. He appears to have lost his ability to separate deep while also displaying inconsistent hands.

Gaffney was similarly inconsistent this summer before injuring his right leg while tracking a deep pass during practice. He missed the last two games with the ailment, and it's possible that Belichick is simply waiting for the veteran to return to full health before re-signing him. But based on his performance, Gaffney's return is no sure thing.

The Patriots roster now stands at 75 and they will have until 9 p.m. on Friday to reach the 53-man limit for the regular season.

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