Six-year veteran Nick Kaczur was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday, allowing Deion Branch to fill his roster spot.
Kaczur injured his back in training camp and had surgery in August. The Patriots had hoped that Kaczur would return at some point this season by keeping him on the active roster. But after five weeks and no progression, the Patriots felt that with the solid play of Dan Connolly, that placing Kaczur on IR was the right move.
Kaczur moved to left guard last season after spending parts of five seasons at right tackle for New England. With the Patriots signing Quinn Ojinnaka last week, after trading for him and then releasing him earlier this season, they needed to open up a roster spot for Branch.
Now with Kaczur out for the season, it could open up the possible return of Pro Bowl hold-out Logan Mankins. The San Diego Chargers recently signed their disgruntled offensive lineman, Marcus McNeil, which could set some groundwork for contractual talks with their own disgruntled lineman.