The Patriots released the linebacker on Tuesday for the second time this season, and with rookie Dont'a Hightower back in the lineup and close to full speed it's easy to see why. Hightower missed two games and most of a third when he pulled his hamstring while chasing down Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during a Week 4 win at Buffalo.
After sitting out the next two weeks Hightower was back in a limited role against the Jets, but he appeared to get better as that game continued. He finished with seven tackles and a sack, which came on the Jets final possession of regulation and resulted in a third-down stop that forced a field goal.
Last week in London, Hightower was back to his active self. He rushed the passer and stuffed the run, and a few of his defensive teammates credited his presence for allowing the unit to try some different schemes that ultimately resulted in some pressure on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
With Hightower and backup linebacker Tracy White dealing with injuries, Carpenter was brought back to provide some depth at the position. He returned Oct. 4 but saw very little action on defense even with both Hightower and White out of the lineup. With the rookie back in the fold, clearly there was no longer a need to keep Carpenter around.