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New England Patriots to release Mohamed Sanu
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Why Mohamed Sanu was a failed experiment for the Patriots (0:49)

Mike Reiss explains why the Patriots decided to move on from wide receiver Mohamed Sanu after giving up a second-round pick for him in a trade last season. (0:49)

6:20 PM ET
  • Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covered Patriots since 1997
    • Joined ESPN in 2009

The New England Patriots have informed veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu of their intention to release him, a source confirmed to ESPN.

NFL Network first reported the news.

The Patriots acquired Sanu last October from the Atlanta Falcons for a second-round pick, a significant investment that resulted in Sanu playing only nine games for the team.

Still, the move doesn’t come as a surprise due to a combination of finances and overall fit in the Patriots’ receiving corps.

Sanu was due to earn $6.5 million this season, which is a high figure based on his projected role as a No. 4 option who doesn’t contribute on special teams.

Furthermore, because the Patriots are locked in with Julian Edelman and 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry as two of their top receivers — giving them one of the slower top tandems in the NFL — their ideal third receiver would be someone with speed.

That isn’t Sanu’s specialty, as he’s more of a crafty inside receiver who plays with a physical edge. Free-agent signing Damiere Byrd, a former track star in high school who also competed at South Carolina, is a top candidate to fill that role.

In 2019, Sanu got off to a fast start in New England, catching 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown in his second game, before he sprained his ankle returning a punt in his next game. That seemed to slow him down the rest of the season, and he underwent offseason surgery.

As for the second-round pick that the Patriots traded for Sanu, the Falcons turned around and traded it to the Baltimore Ravens in a deal that landed them tight end Hayden Hurst.

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