Being a fan of the New England Patriots has numerous upsides: championships, legitimate reasons to be obnoxious for about 20 weekends out of the year, and now the pleasure of crushing Tim Tebow twice a year. Of course there is no such thing as a perfect situation, there are some big bummers about being a Patriots fan: no one wants to watch the games with you, apparently we can't beat Eli "Aww Shucks" Manning, and saying goodbye to some of our favorite players every year seemingly without warning. Obviously saying goodbye to players suddenly isn't something unique to the Pats but, Belicheck and Co. do seem to have a knack for cutting players that make Pats fans say "C'mon, we know he's a salary cap hit but, we just love him, do you really know what you're doing?" And of course if there is one thing that Pats fans have learned over the years its to always trust the hood, always. Regardless it still doesn't make it hurt less when we say goodbye to fan favorites like the original law firm, Ty Law, in 2005. The second incarnation of the law firm, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, this off season, and the grand daddy of them all, Adam Vinatieri. As I said earlier I know that this is not unique to the Pats fan base and that these were smart football moves but it still sucks. So in honor of all-those sad memories its time to make a list of the 5 Patriots that would suck to see go (for this list I only included Pats that had a at least a decent chance of not being with the team at the beginning of the 2013 season, obviously it would suck to say goodbye to Brady but, that won't happen). I'll explain why the player has the chance of being cut, even if its just a whiff of being cut, and how bad it would hurt us as fans on a scale of 1-10 ( 1 being as sad as were to see Ochocinco go and 10 being us having to witness another Eli "Golly Gee" Manning miracle pass in the 4th quarter of a Superbowl. Followed by him doing a Rob Gronkowski shirt off celebration dance, thats our new snow angel in the confetti gag, and that would hurt to witness).
- Deion Branch - Branch is the epitome of one of those veterans who has "earned" that yearly roster spot but, the team has become increasingly engorged at the reciever position and has a slew of guys who are willing to go over the middle (and get beat harder than Mitt Romney is getting beat over this tax thing) however, the Pats lack a deep threat (we'll see if Brandon Lyoyd has enough left in the tank, he is 31) and while Branch is exceedingly fast he has never been known as a stretch the field type of deep threat more of a right before the half EF You TD deep threat. With the recieving corps as swollen, the guys who stay will all probably be Brady favorites which should give Branch some confidence but this could be the last season we see Branch suit up for the Pats. Sadness Meter: 4 (We've already seen him go once, that helps)
- Julian Edelman - Maybe not the most well known Patriot Edelman is a classic case of the Patriot Way. After playing quarterback in college Edelman put the team above himself and switched positions. At times he completely switched sides of the ball, playing defensive back last year when the injuring depleted secondary needed extra man power. Unfortunately for Edelman we also have two other guys on the roster who can do what he does (Danny Woodhead and Wes Welker). Really the only place Edelman has been used consistently is on special teams but, if it comes down to trimming the roster or the salary cap, you have to think that Edelman will be one of the first to be clipped, especially being from the deep wide reciever cache we have accumlated. Sadness Meter: 6 (we've seen many great Patriot Way guys depart us)
- Dan Koppen/Connolly - Very hard to see which one of these guys is more likely to get the boot in the next year. Both have missed a good amount of time in the past couple of years due to injury, and both are getting up there in age. The Patriots have never taken chances on protecting Brady so it would be hard for me to see the Patriots keeping both of these guys, especially if they are serious about bringing up Ryan Wendell and Kyle Hill into a more prominent role. Sadness Meter: 7 (these guys have done a great job of protecting Brady)
- Danny Woodhead - How can you not love everything about this guy? I mean not only is he everything that I said about Julian Edelman but, he used to be a JET! You know that it has to annoy Rex Ryan to no end that Belicheck ended up finding a legitimate role for the "Little Engine That Could" from Nebraska. However, much like with Edelman there are several people who can do what Woodhead does for the Patriots, and after a draft last year that saw us take two RB's it may be hard for the Patriots to justify keeping the undrafted free-agent pick up over the two kids the Pats spent draft picks on (Look at what happened to BenJarvus Green-Ellis). Woodhead does do one thing that puts him ahead of the other backs, and that is his ability to catch passes out of the back field. For now that should be enough to keep him around for this season but, after that I'm not sure. Sadness Meter 9 (I'll probably miss being legitimately bigger than a Patriot once he is gone)
- Wes Welker -