Part of the New England Patriots success over the last decade has been their knowledge of other team’s rosters. When a player they think will add something to the team becomes available, they find a way to bring that player in for at least a look. According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter Monday, the Patriots have claimed running back Tyler Gaffney on waivers from the Carolina Panthers.
Gaffney suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice on Friday and was on his way to being placed on the Panther’s injured reserve list before the Patriots snatched him up only to eventually place him on their IR list. The sixth-round draft choice out of Stanford could become valuable in 2015 as three of the Patriots’ top running backs are entering the final year of their contracts. That is if he successfully heals from his injury.
In claiming Gaffney, the Patriots will pickup his contract, which runs through 2017. It is a similar move the Patriots made when they claimed tight end Jake Ballard two seasons ago on waivers from the New York Giants. Ballard never made an impact with the Patriots, but at the time the move was seen as a smart move, especially with what developed with former tight end Aaron Hernandez and the forearm injury to Rob Gronkowski.
Gaffney, who will undergo surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, will be placed on the 90-man roster before the team moves him to the IR. The Patriots will pay the Stanford alum $420,000 for 2014. In his last season at Stanford, Gaffney rushed for 1,709 yards on 330 carries. Although he was a sixth-round pick, his talent was enough for the Patriots to take a chance, which could work in their favor if they decide to part ways with Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen or Brandon Bolden. At this point, it can be chalked up as a low-risk, high rewards type transaction. To make roster room, the Patriots have released linebacker and special teams specialist Josh Hull.