Pats Release Undrafted Rookie Harper, Search for Veteran Receiver Depth
The New England Patriots released undrafter rookie free agent Chris Harper earlier today, according to the team's website.
Harper put together a strong preseason as he led the team in receptions with 15 and receiving yards with 150, while also scoring one touchdown. Because of his strong play and a rash of injuries to receivers above him on the New England depth chart, Harper snagged a spot on the team's initial 53-man roster as the number four receiver.
The Cal product, who left school early but was not rewarded with a selection in the 2015 draft, did not see any action in the team's week 1 win over Pittsburgh.
It appears that New England has decided to look for a more veteran presence to fill Harper's vacant role, as depth at the position is so thin.
The Pats did sign former Patriot Kenbrell Thompkins to their practice squad just days before the start of the season and there's a chance that the club may sign him to the roster to fill the vacant spot. In 2013 as an undrafted rookie, Thompkins started eight games and caught 32 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns. A few weeks into the 2014 campaign Thompkins was cut by New England and claimed off waivers by the Oakland Raiders, with whom he spent the rest of the season.
New England could still look for an option from outside the organization as they had both quarterback-turned-receiver Terrelle Pryor and rookie receiver Evan Spencer in for workouts recently, according to Mike Reiss.
Regardless of how New England ends up handling the situation look for them to add a receiver by this Sunday as they currently have just three receivers on the active roster. Right now, special teams captain Matthew Slater is penciled in as the team's fourth option at the position.