In a surprise move, the New England Patriots released veteran tight end Ben Watson on Monday, a decision that was seen as purely business as the team needs salary cap space to trade for a wide receiver before the Oct. 29 deadline. The Patriots lured Watson out of retirement and signed him to a one-year deal worth $3 million to fill the void left by Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement in the offseason. However, Watson was suspended for the first four games of the season after he was tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

The move to let go of Watson gave the Patriots around $2 million in salary cap to trade for a wide receiver, who could provide additional depth to their receiving corps. The Patriots are reportedly eyeing A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals or Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos. When asked about the decision to release Watson on Monday, head coach Bill Belichick said they have no more roster spot for the veteran wide receiver who first played for the Patriots from 2004 to 2009. On Tuesday, Belichick raised the possibility that Watson might return to the Patriots at some point this season. “And so, maybe that will change. But for the moment, that’s where it is,” said Belichick. As of now, Belichick said he will rely on young tight ends Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse moving forward, saying they have done a decent job and have provided the Patriot with enough production.

Brady sad about Watson’s release

During his weekly news conference, veteran quarterback Tom Brady expressed sadness about the decision to release Watson, whom he considers a long-time friend. “Pretty tough. Pretty tough. I’ve played with a lot of guys over the years, and Ben’s a great player,” Brady said of Watson, adding that his locker was next to the veteran tight end.

While he called Watson a great player, Brady said that the tight end is 10 times a better person with the highest integrity. “I can’t say enough good things about Ben, what he’s meant to me and my family and our team. We’re going to miss him,” Brady emphasized. The 42-year-old Brady said he has no problem playing with Izzo and LaCosse, saying they have competed hard in the Patriots’ first five games of the season.

In their 33-7 win over the Washington Redskins, Izzo caught two passes for 39 yards and a touchdown while LaCosse caught one pass from Brady for 22 yards.

Brady expects hard-hitting comments from Gronk

On Tuesday, Fox Sports announced that Gronkowski will work as a full-time analyst for the “FOX NFL Sunday” pregame show and will start working on Thursday’s night game between the Patriots and the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium. According to Brady, he expects Gronkowski to be good in his new gig. “He’ll be good. He’s been pretty good at everything he’s done,” Brady said, adding that he expects “hard-hitting analysis” from his former teammate. As of now, Gronkowski’s new gig will silence rumors about a possible comeback with the Patriots.