Patriots release veteran WR Deion Branch

In a surprising move, the New England Patriots have parted ways with wide receiver Deion Branch, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Branch has had two stints with the Patriots team. He played for them from 2002-2005 and then spent some time with the Seahawks. He rejoined the team in 2010 and posted back-to-back 700-yard seasons.

The Patriots have tested a lot of receivers this off-season. They signed Anthony Gonzalez, Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney (to name a few) and released all of them. When the Patriots released Gaffney, it seemed as if Branch’s job was safe. The Patriots now have Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker and Julian Edelman as their top receivers.

The 33-year-old receiver signed a 1-year, $1.325 million deal on March 22.

The Patriots have also reportedly released backup quarterback Brian Hoyer. Hoyer is seen as a reliable backup, but he he was due to make too much money this season as a backup. It was surprising that New England couldn’t get a trade for him.