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Patriots release Kyle Arrington, per reports

The New England Patriots are parting ways with cornerback Kyle Arrington after a sub-par 2014 season. I don't expect the 49ers to try and sign him, but Trent Baalke has surprised us before.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots are releasing cornerback Kyle Arringtonaccording to ESPN Patriots writer Mike Reiss, two years into a four year contract. Arrington signed a 4-year $16 million deal, and the Patriots ended up making it effectively a 2-year, $9.5 million contract ($6.5 million signing bonus, $3 million in salary over 2013 and 2014). Reiss and others are reporting the two sides could still reunite, but the Patriots are not willing to pay him the $3 million and $3.5 million due in 2015 and 2016.

I bring this up for a couple reasons. The first is some folks quickly inquired as to whether the San Francisco 49ers would be interested in adding Arrington. He handled slot work quite frequently for the Patriots. The 49ers have Jimmie Ward as their slot man, and could move around some of their current depth.

Arrington struggled with consistency this past year, and eventually was benched in the Super Bowl for eventual hero Malcolm Butler. but he would add some desired competition to the position. That being said, the fact that the 49ers did not add a cornerback in the draft would seem to indicate they are happy with the depth chart. Arrington's release caught some folks by surprise, so maybe he pops on the 49ers radar. My guess is he does not and the team goes into training camp with this current group of cornerbacks. But maybe Trent Baalke surprises us. Do you see any additions to this group of cornerbacks between now and late July?

The other reason I bring this up is for the repeated reminder about the lack of guaranteed contracts in the NFL. Arrington did not play up to the Patriots standards, and so they released him. If he performs well in 2015, some will critique the Patriots decision, but for now, people generally are willing to give teams the benefit of the doubt. If Arrington had performed well in 2014 and then held out for a pay raise, many people would call the player selfish. There are always various pieces of context to consider in a holdout and a release, but I generally side with the players in these situations given the lack of fully guaranteed contracts.

Whatever the case, Arrington is now free to sign with whomever he wants. I would imagine something will happen fairly quickly, particularly if it is with a new team, so he can get into OTAs and minicamp. I wouldn't rule the 49ers out of anything with regard to this roster, but I don't expect to hear news connecting them with Arrington.