The New England Patriots smashed the New York Jets, but that didn’t stop them from adding new players to the squad. They traded a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu, and the veteran wide receiver isn’t the only player they added to the team. New England signed special teams standout Justin Bethel.
The Baltimore Ravens released Bethel on Monday as confirmed by Ian Rapoport from NFL Media.
Bethel is one of the greatest special teams players, and he’s been really amazing since he entered the NFL in 2012. The 29-year-old played six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, and won three consecutive Pro Bowl selections from 2013 to 2015. He spent the 2018 season with the Atlanta Falcons, and inked a two-year contract with the Ravens this spring. However, the Ravens decided to cut him after seven games.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh says this move has something to do with the Ravens’ compensatory draft pick formula. According to him, this is in no way linked to Bethel’s performance with the team. By cutting Bethel, the Ravens can keep their projected fourth-round comp pick in the 2020 season.
“Judgment has to be made for the future, as well,” Harbaugh told reporters Monday, via the Ravens’ official website. “That’s tough for us because, I told him, I think he’s the best special teams player in the NFL, and he’s playing that way. So that’s going to be a blow, and we’re going to have to find a way to overcome that.”
Bethel doesn’t have an impressive NFL experience as cornerback. He has 14 career starts, four interceptions, and three pick-sixes. New England has an incredible depth at this point, so Bethel won’t be used a lot outside the kicking game. The Patriots have Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, Joejuan Williams, and Stephon Gilmore at cornerback. Let’s not forget that Gilmore is an All-Pro name.
A first-team All-Pro on special teams in 2013 and 2015, the cornerback played 14 defensive snaps for Baltimore before he was cut. He wasn’t part of the defense for the Falcons last year.
The Patriots have to make enough room for Bethel and Sanu. Jordan Richards may be removed as he doesn’t have Bethel’s skills.