The New England Patriots just got thinner at running back. On Monday, the team chose to waive running back Tyler Gaffney from their roster. The move makes the positional unit a little bit weaker heading into next season. It may also, however, clear room for a member of the talented running back draft class to join the team, or a big free agent that has been rumored to be interested in joining the Super Bowl champs.

Goodbye Gaffney

Gaffney has been a member of the New England Patriots since July 2014. Injuries threatened to derail his career before it truly even began. After being drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round of the 2014 draft, he suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee during training camp.

The team proceeded to waive him after the injury.

The Patriots quickly claimed him off waivers. He endured all kinds of contract stipulations, from being released and waived to being placed on injured reserve. He spent a couple of weeks on the active roster this season, but never managed to make his NFL debut. Gaffney arrived in the NFL from Stanford with plenty of promise, but his hopes for a standard career in football continue to fade.

Looking at the running back corps

The waiving of Gaffney creates a roster space for the Patriots, one that doesn't necessarily need to be filled by a running back. They still have James White, Dion Lewis, D.J. Foster, and the recently signed Rex Burkhead in the backfield.

They stand to lose LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden in free agency, but the team is built to withstand those losses.

If the team does decide to replace Gaffney, they have options in both free agency and a loaded draft class at the position. The team doesn't have any draft picks in the first two rounds, but they have expressed interest in Alvin Kamara, an alum of the Tennessee Volunteers.

In terms of free agency, New England has been a rumored destination of Adrian Peterson, one of the top free agent running backs still available on the open market.

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