Dominique Easley, 2014 First-Round Draft Pick, Released By Patriots


UPDATE (5:05 p.m. ET): The New England Patriots officially released Dominique Easley on Wednesday night.

ORIGINAL STORY: The New England Patriots reportedly made a shocking move Wednesday, releasing a former first-round draft pick.

The Patriots released Dominique Easley, the 29th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, according to’s Tom E. Curran. Easley was placed on season-ending injured reserve with knee and quad injuries in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Easley played in 22 games over two seasons, recording 25 tackles and three sacks for the Patriots. He also had one pass defensed and one interception.

Easley suffered two torn ACLs during his college career at Florida.

Easley started just three games for the Patriots and mostly was used as an interior pass rusher on third downs. He showed promise in 2015 before suffering a season-ending quad injury in Week 14.

Without Easley, the Patriots are left with Malcolm Brown, Alan Branch, Terrance Knighton, Markus Kuhn, Chris Jones, Frank Kearse and Joe Vellano at defensive tackle. They have Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Chris Long, Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, Eric Martin and James Vaughters at pass rusher.

Easley becomes the Patriots’ biggest first-round draft bust since Bill Belichick took over the team in 2000. The move comes as a big surprise, since the Patriots actually will take a $3.6 million salary cap hit if Easley isn’t claimed by another team. The Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers also had strong interest in Easley before the 2014 NFL Draft.

Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Dec 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Dominique Easley (99) celebrates after a sack during the first half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Texans 27-6. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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