Now that Aaron Hernandez has been cut by the Patriots, there's a lot to digest for Patriots fans. What will happen to Hernandez? Where do the Patriots go from here? How will this ordeal affect the team moving forward?
For Aaron Hernandez, the battle to stay a free man is just beginning. We're still not sure on what charges he was arrested, but obstruction of justice is almost certainly on the list, and it's very possible there are other, more serious charges either in the warrant or coming in the near future.
The Patriots,on the other hand, can now begin moving on from Aaron Hernandez, which is something easier said than done. Despite any off-field woes, Hernandez was a great tight end, and he gave them a second option behind Rob Gronkowski, who is still recovering from back surgery.
The Patriots are not a team that is solely dedicated to one style of play, and that's probably their greatest offensive strength. They've always been able to adapt to new situations in a very quick and fluid way, and that's what they'll have to do now that Hernandez won't be there to help Tom Brady out.
From a personnel perspective, the loss of Hernandez puts a lot of pressure on a seemingly week lineup of wide receivers. The Patriots have never had problems turning a no-name group or receivers into productive players, but Tom Brady would almost certainly like a little more fire power than he's being provided. In particular, Danny Amendola will have a lot of added pressure on his shoulders, and he hasn't played a single down for the Patriots.
Ultimately, it's no surprise to see the Patriots make the move to cut Hernandez sooner rather than later. By cutting him now, there's no disillusionment down the road when it becomes apparent Hernandez won't be with the team. The Patriots are thin on offensive weapons, but Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have dealt with unique injury circumstances before. The distraction of Hernandez's legal situation will eventually pass. leaving the Patriots with a lot of offensive questions to answer before the start of the regular season.