In a move that caught many off guard, the Patriots reportedly have told SS James Sanders they are releasing him, opening up spots on their depth chart for younger players.
Sanders, 27, was cut despite starting 50 games for the Patriots since 2005. Last season he played in 15 games, starting nine of them, and finished with 58 tackles and a career-best three interceptions.
Sanders told ESPN Boston he wasn't prepared for the news, saying, "It was a shock. It wasn't one of the things I was expecting to hear today. It didn't cross my mind."
New England's starting safeties this season are expected to be Brandon Meriweather at FS and Patrick Chung at SS. Sanders was slated to be the third safety on the depth chart.