The Russell Bodine experiment in New England has come to an end as quickly as it began. The New England Patriots signed Bodine a week ago to add depth at the center position with David Andrews set to miss the entire 2019 season.
But on Friday, New England pulled the plug on the veteran interior lineman, releasing him to resign guard/center James Ferentz, as reported by The Boston Globe’s Jim McBride.
Bodine spent his first four years in Cincinnati helping guide the Bengals to the postseason. Last year, Bodine started 10 games for the Buffalo Bills in the absence of Mitch Morse. The Bills traded Bodine to New England last Friday for a sixth-round pick.
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The Patriots, instead, have now opted to go with James Ferentz. Part of the final wave of roster cuts, Ferentz is a guard/center who spent the last two seasons with the Patriots moving between the practice squad and the active roster. He appeared in two games with New England last season.
The Move Clears Cap Space
There’s always a method to the madness in New England. The move to release the veteran Bodine and sign a cheaper, experienced option like Ferentz is one that alleviates some extra salary cap space.
By adding Ferentz on a cheaper deal, the Patriots get equal experience at depth at the interior offensive line position while saving money to make moves down the line if necessary. Although Ferentz showed some weaknesses in detecting the late blitz during the preseason, he is still fit enough and experienced within the Patriots offensive system to provide depth.
Effect on Depth Chart
With Ferentz in the mix, the move likely pushes guard Jermaine Eluemunor up a spot on the depth chart. While on the Patriots last year, Ferentz was often listed as a gameday inactive pending injury.
The one downside to pushing Eluemunor ahead of Ferentz is the lack of experience at the center position. Ferentz has worked in tandem with Ted Karras before for the role of the backup center. Eluemunor has never worked with Tom Brady or in the Patriots offense nor has he played center — only right guard and right tackle.
With Bodine out of the picture, it essentially solidifies Karras as the new starting center for this season. Karras was edging out Bodine in the competition anyway, leaving less of a need for the veteran and his higher contract.
Ferentz’ Career Stats
Ferentz had his best season in 2015 with the Denver Broncos helping Peyton Manning and company capture Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers. He appeared in 13 games that season but did not start.
He dressed just once in the postseason during Denver’s AFC Championship game triumph over the Patriots. The following year in 2016, Ferentz played in just seven contests before his release by the Broncos in the offseason.
Spending all of 2017 on the practice squad, Ferentz was finally promoted to the active roster in November of 2018 and appeared in two games for New England, a Week 9 win over Green Bay and a Week 10 loss to Tennessee. Both those games, the Patriots were without guard Shaq Mason.