With AD out, what’s left at OLB?

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As Shalise reported less than an hour ago, the Patriots are parting ways with the highest priced free agent in franchise history (unless you count Randy Moss, who was a UFA for about three days before re-signing) with the release of OLB Adalius Thomas.

This, of course, surprises no one. But it does take one player away from an already shallow pool of outside linebackers. Here’s the group:

Tully Banta-Cain
Shawn Crable
Jermaine Cunningham*
Bruce Davis
Dane Fletcher*
Marques Murrell
Rob Ninkovich
Pierre Woods

(* — Rookies)

As of this moment, Banta-Cain and Ninkovich would probably project as the starters, with Woods and Cunningham likely to compete for those jobs. Maybe Crable does too, although it seems tough to count on that happening.

On the surface, this seems to be the kind of lurch the team found itself in last summer, when it was pressed to deal for a veteran, and got Derrick Burgess for a third- and fifth-round pick.

Burgess, by the way, is still out there as a free agent. So it’s possible he could return, as well.

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