Will Patriots Cut Ties With Brandon Meriweather After This Season?

Will Patriots Cut Ties With Brandon Meriweather After This Season? The look on Bill Belichick's face said it all.

Moments after Brandon Meriweather had been summoned to the sidelines after laying a late, dangerous and downright dirty hit on Todd Heap, the fourth-year safety tried to explain himself to the coach. It was rather obvious that Bill wasn't buying it.

The coach kept Meriweather parked on the bench, but an injury to Jarrad Page forced the team to reinsert Meriweather into the game.

The Patriots ultimately won, thanks in large part to the physical play of the defense, but Meriweather's hit brought a week's worth of distractions to a team that prides itself on keeping a low profile between Sundays.

Meriweather obviously paid for his hit ($50,000, to be exact), and the Patriots will need him Sunday and for the rest of the year. But with his rookie contract coming to an end after next season, is it possible the Patriots may cut ties with him a year early?

Fair or not, it's been a discussion point this past week, and there are some real reasons for both sides of the argument.

First, there are the negatives in moving on from Meriweather in 2011:

  • The Patriots used a first-round pick to get him in 2007. Those don't exactly grow on trees.
  • Cutting Meriweather will count more than $1 million against the cap, according to PatsCap.com. That may be a lesser issue, pending the collective bargaining agreement.
  • While he's far from a superstar safety, he's taken strides toward becoming a reliable player for the Patriots, even making the Pro Bowl in 2009. Granted, that was as an injury replacement, but they don't let just anyone show up to the game.
  • Depth would be a problem. Meriweather's played in 53 out of a possible 53 games in his career, and he's been a starter since midway through the '08 season. The Pats have just four safeties on the roster, so cutting Meriweather would force them to acquire at least one more, but maybe two.

And then there are the potential positives:

  • Many fans have spoken out against the hit, saying it gives the Patriots a bad image. Cutting ties with a guy who cast a negative light on the team (and a guy who has a history of bad behavior on the field).
  • In a somewhat similar way as the Randy Moss trade, it would restore the idea of a "Patriot way" still existing in Foxboro. It may be an ideal concept, but there are many fans who believe in it — or at least they used to.
  • Patrick Chung has matured rather quickly in just his second year, thereby making a loss of Meriweather easier to handle.

Admittedly, the positives aren't all that great, but in many fans' eyes, Meriweather's hit on Heap is worth a ticket out of town.

What do you think the Patriots will do with Brandon Meriweather? Share your thoughts below.

Thursday, Oct. 21: Can Danny Woodhead continue producing at a high level?

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