Meriweather released

What has long been rumored is now reality: the Patriots have cut ties with two-time Pro Bowler Brandon Meriweather, league sources confirm.

Meriweather was just beginning the final year of the five-year deal he signed when he was drafted 24th overall in 2007.

New England had explored the option of trading him last night, but found no takers and went with option B, which was cutting ties with the 27-year old.

The team hosted then-free agent Dashon Goldson last month and offered him a contract before Goldson decided to re-sign with San Francisco. Then the Pats hosted Darren Sharper for a workout; the 36-year old was an instrumental part of the Saints’ win in Super Bowl Super Bowl XLIV.

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On Thursday night, Meriweather did not play on defense until the second half, while Patrick Chung and Josh Barrett, in his first-ever game action for the Pats, started the game, and then Sergio Brown also got snaps.

The next day, Bill Belichick said the move was just part of the team’s usual rotation, but gave a tepid response when asked about Meriweather’s performance in training camp and the preseason.

With the release of Meriweather, none of the nine members of the 2007 draft class are still with the Patriots.