Curran: Malcolm Mitchell's release a measure of the ‘Other Patriot Way'

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It's a measure of that other "Patriots Way" that it's no real shock Malcolm Mitchell was released on Monday. 

We've known for more than a week he was on the outs and he hasn't been able to get on the field since the preseason last year when he collided with tight end Jacob Hollister during a game against the Texans. 

We thought he had a shot to come back off IR last year but it didn't happen. 

We thought he'd be good for minicamp. Didn't happen. 

We figured he'd be out there for training camp and not only is he not there, he's gone before the first preseason game. 

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Yet despite the fact this team is dying for receiver depth and Mitchell was the most competent rookie receiver the team had since Deion Branch in 2002, shrugs will outnumber sneers when we try and figure out why he was released. 

Because no matter how mystifying a decision may be, the train of success keeps rolling and there is a deferential, "They must know what they're doing..." shrug of resignation that punctuates these conversations. 

Where's the smoking gun evidence that trading Logan Mankins or Jamie Collins or Chandler Jones backfired? 

They won Super Bowls after each guy was excised so any price we figure they paid is purely hypothetical. 

Same with Mitchell. He was part of the booty the team got back in exchange for Jones. Initially, it was Jones in exchange for a second-round pick and Jonathan Cooper. 

The Patriots turned that second into two picks and took Mitchell and Joe Thuney. They cut Cooper before the 2015 season was up. Thuney turned into a capable starter. Mitchell was instrumental in helping the Patriots track down Atlanta in Super Bowl 51. 

So they certainly got a return on Mitchell already that justifies his fourth-round selection. 

But that doesn't eliminate the fact he figured to be a fixture in the Patriots plans for years. 

Instead, a player who was extremely well-liked and celebrated for his off-field demeanor, a guy who showed real toughness in coming back as a rookie from a dislocated elbow became expendable. 

A hard answer for why a good player is gone for a song? Or less? It just isn't available. Only conjecture. That's the other Patriot Way. 

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