At the end of the day, one thing matters most: Maroney survived a mass of roster cuts, and it looks like he'll play out the last season of his five-year rookie contract with the Patriots.
Maroney didn’t take a single snap with the first-team offense this preseason, and he was a bench ornament for two of the Patriots' four exhibition games. Maroney, who pushed the mop bucket through Bill Belichick's doghouse at the end of the 2009 season, appeared to have kept his residence in those uncomfortable confines.
And, who knows, he might still be there. The 2006 first-round draft pick would be an intriguing prospect for teams that are looking to add running back depth, like the injury-depleted Broncos and Browns, whose head coaches — Josh McDaniels and Eric Mangini, respectively — are former New England assistants.
Since the Patriots have a surplus of running backs, they could definitely still be looking to trade one, and Maroney would no doubt have the highest value on such a market. (Also, remember the Patriots traded defensive lineman Richard Seymour the day after roster cuts in 2009.)
Yet, if Maroney does indeed remain in New England throughout the season, he could still be an asset. He ran the ball well last year before developing an affinity for giving away more pigskin than a meat-packing factory. If Maroney can get past that and continue to run as hard as he did in 2009, he'll command about 200 carries.
It hasn’t been an ideal summer for Maroney, and there's still no telling what will come next for the unpredictable running back. But for now, he can breathe a little easier knowing he's still welcomed at Gillette Stadium.