New England Patriots

Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA: New England Patriots defensive back Obi Melifonwu against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff,

It turns out that the Patriots won’t be cutting a wide receiver to make room for Antonio Brown. Instead, they’ve decided to waive safety Obi Melifonwu, according to Field Yates.

Per the report, the Patriots are also releasing tight end Lance Kendricks, who missed Week 1 against the Steelers due to a suspension.

With Brown taking Melifonwu’s spot, the Patriots now have seven wide receivers on the roster: Brown, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas, Jakobi Meyers, and Gunner Olszewski. Thomas missed Sunday night’s season opener as he deals with a hamstring injury.

Assuming Brown can assimilate himself into the Patriots’ team-first culture, and there’s reason to doubt that, he has a chance to be among the most productive targets Tom Brady has ever had. The four-time First Team All-Pro immediately becomes their most talented wideout, and they were already loaded with talent and upside.

This isn’t a typical low-risk Bill Belichick move. Brown will very likely play out the whole season with the Patriots in light of getting a $9 million signing bonus as part of his deal. The contract also includes $5 million in not likely to be earned incentives and a $20 million option, which the Patriots are also unlikely to pick up.

But the $9 million guaranteed money should be enough for Brown to stick around, even if his presence in the locker room proves disruptive. As always, the Patriots have a better chance than most (if not all) other teams to keep him under control and focused on football for a season.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at