On Monday the Patriots released third year wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell. If/when he clears waivers, he will become a free agent.
Mitchell’s career had a wide range of highs and lows. He battled through knee injuries at the University of Georgia to finish a successful college career. The Patriots drafted Mitchell in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Mitchell found a role in New England’s offense quickly, as it did not take much time at all for him to become a trusted target of Tom Brady. He finished his rookie regular season with 32 catches for 401 yards and four touchdowns. He also shined brightest on the biggest stage of them all, becoming a crucial element in the Patriots historic comeback over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Mitchell caught six passes for 70 yards in the second half alone, including a number of plays that came on crucial third downs that kept Patriots drives alive.
Mitchell also had a crucial block on James White’s game winning touchdown run in overtime.
Unfortunately Mitchell’s career went downhill from there. His knee injuries came back to haunt him in 2017, forcing him to sit out all of last season as he tried to recover. While he made progress over this past offseason, he was still not at full strength when training camp rolled around a few weeks ago. The uncertainty with his injury timetable, as well as the team’s inability to get anything in return for him, likely promoted the Patriots to move on from Mitchell.
The team will certainly miss Mitchell, especially this season, as his connection with Brady will be sorely missed in a season with a brand new receiver corps. However, more importantly, he will be missed as a high character individual and a good locker room presence. Patriots fans will have fond memories of Mitchell’s Super Bowl success as they wish him luck in his future career.