Patriots waive Ron Brace, activate Jermaine Cunningham
They promoted wide receiver Kamar Aiken and defensive back Malcolm Williams from the practice squad and waived defensive lineman Ron Brace ahead of Sunday’s season finale against the Miami Dolphins.
When the New England Patriots selected Ron Brace out of Boston College in the 2nd Round of the 2011 drafts, they’ hoped he’d bring a physical element to the game. Standing at 6-foot-3 and 330 pounds, Ron Brace was amongst the more powerful defenders with size advantage in the drafts.
Previously, the New England Patriots had more success drafting early round-picks under the same formula, such as defensive tackles: Richard Seymour (2001 draft), Ty Warren (2003 drafts) and Vince Wilfork (2004 drafts). However, Ron Brace tuned out to be just the latest pick in 2011 draft class to fizzle out, joining other disappointments like cornerback Darius Butler (2nd Rounder), linebacker Tyrone Mckenzie (3rd Rounder) and wider receiver Brandon Tate (3rd Rounder).
Initially, Ron Brace played backup nose tackle in the 3-4 formation behind Vince Wilfork, who was on an expiring contract. The New England Patriots had hoped that they would move Ron Brace to the starting nose tackle to fill the spot. But by the end of his rookie season, Ron Brace failed to impress at nose tackle, which left the New England Patriots with no choice but to negotiate a five-year, $40 million extension with Vince Wilfork.
Ron Brace had more success at left defensive tackle under the 3-4 formation on his second year, although he still failed to clinch a full-time starting job. And by the end of his third NFL season, Ron Brace had been surpassed on the depth chart by former 2010 undrafted rookie Kyle Love.
With the New England Patriots transitioning to a more of a 4-3 formation, Ron Brace resumed his duties at defensive tackle, but still failed to make some noise, playing just 92 snaps. Ron Brace totaled just four tackle (two solo), while appearing in 10 games through the entire 2012 regular season campaign.
Ron Brace struggled with injury through a better part of his career with the New England Patriots. After starting the 2012 season on the physically unable to perform list, Ron Brace remained inactive for most of the regular season.
The 26-year old Ron Brace has 39 career-game appearances (with seven starts). Ron Brace becomes a free agent after the season and isn’t expected to return with the New England Patriots.
Although the New England Patriots already have their leading-three defensive linemen in Vince Wilfork, Brandon Deaderick and Marcus Forston (practice squad), the team is likely to address the area in the during free agency or through the 2013 drafts.
Meanwhile, the New England Patriots signed defensive end Jermaine Cunningham to Ron Brace’s open roster spot. The third-year pro Jermaine Cunningham is returning from a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs.