Editors Note: NFL Network now reports that Bryan Stork was traded to the Washington Redskins for a conditional seventh round pick in the 2017 draft. According to Ian Rappaport, Stork is now considering retirement.
Bryan Stork was a fourth-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2014. He started 17 games at center for the club over the past two seasons. Now he’s on the waiver wire.
Bill Belichick has always been one to defy convention with his roster moves. The head coach will cut or trade seemingly key veteran players or even prospects early into their careers who aren’t developing as quickly as he would like. Such is the luxury of being a four-time Super Bowl champion.
Belichick was at it again Wednesday with the release of Stork, who appeared to have the inside track to serving New England’s center for at least one more season. Yet as Mike Reiss for ESPN.com explains, that probably wasn’t going to be the case, which is why the club decided to cut ties instead.
In fact, Reiss described the move as “only a mild surprise,” noting that David Andrews — an undrafted second-year player out of Georgia — had moved ahead of Stork on the depth chart. Andrews started 11 games at various spots for New England in 2015, so there’s a comfort level there, as well.
Obviously, the Patriots don’t feel as though Stork will be missed. Aside from injuries costing the Florida State product valuable time, he wasn’t particularly solid when he was in the lineup. Belichick had seen enough.
Not to say Stork was the answer to their problems, but it is noteworthy the Patriots have had serious offensive line issues the past few years, this most recent season the most glaring. The fact they didn’t feel Stork was worth keeping around for depth probably speaks volumes.