The Patriots have cut ties with safety Brandon McGowan and are now pursuing free-agent safety Dashon Goldson, the Boston Herald reports.

McGowan, who played his college ball at the University of Maine, was competing for the fourth safety spot with Bret Lockett, Malcolm Williams and Josh Barrett, among others, before being released on Sunday.

The four players were expected to contribute mainly on special teams, and only sparingly in the defensive backfield.

The Herald also reports that Goldson, a former San Fransisco 49er, visited Foxboro and that the Patriots have expressed serious interest in the fifth-year safety. Goldson played in all 16 games each of the last two seasons, amassing 174 total tackles and five interceptions.

Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung are expected to be New England's starting safeties to begin the season, with James Sanders getting significant playing time as well.