The Patriots' offensive line never struggled last season without Nick Kaczur, whose 2010 campaign spanned about 24 hours of training camp. And now, the Pats are prepared to part ways with the guy who started at right tackle from 2005-09.
Kaczur refused to take a massive pay cut, according to the Boston Herald, which means the Patriots would rather release him than pay him $3.4 million in 2011 and $4.1 million in 2012.
At his absolute best, Kaczur has been better than average at right tackle. At his worst, he was a liability. Usually, though, Kaczur was somewhere in the middle.
The Patriots intended to use Kaczur at left guard to start last season, but his back injury was too much to bear in training camp, and that project never came to fruition. Kaczur will turn 32 in July, and he'll find work elsewhere, though it's hard to tell where other teams will be interested in playing him.
Kaczur would have been an asset for the Patriots heading into next season due to the uncertain contract situations with left tackle Matt Light and left guard Logan Mankins. Depending on how those issues play out, Kaczur could have been a candidate to start at left guard or right tackle, or he would have added depth at each position.
Because the Patriots were willing to take such a hard stance with Kaczur, it might indicate a few different things. First, they're confident they'll retain Light. Second, they've got faith that right guard Stephen Neal will return after potentially weighing retirement. And third, they're happy with the development of interior lineman Ryan Wendell, who started two games at right guard last season.
By those measures, it makes sense that the Patriots would be wary to shell out $7.5 million to Kaczur over the next two seasons, and since he's unwilling to budge on his contract, it looks like he'll be playing for a new team for the first time in his career.