Secondary departure: Bodden released

Two years ago, Leigh Bodden was the team’s best corner. 

Today, he’s no longer a Patriot.

According to Pro Football Talk reports, the team released Bodden Friday.

The move is surprising considering cornerback Ras-I Dowling, the 33rd overall pick, has struggled to stay on the field with a hip injury.

Dowling had beaten out Bodden for the starting right corner spot, and Bodden also had injury issues dating back to last season when he missed the entire year with a shoulder injury.

Although the team had an up-and-down 2009 season, Bodden played well enough to earn a four-year, $22-million deal which included $14 million over the first two years. After missing the first year and not even making it halfway through the second, it looks like money down the drain.

The Bodden deal isn’t the only decision the Pats would like to have back as the team released outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain this offseason after he signed a three-year deal including a $6 million signing bonus.

Offensive tackle Nick Kaczur also signed a fairly lucrative deal back in ’09 (four years, $16 million), but missed the entire 2010 season and was released in July.

With Bodden moving on, the spotlight has officially been thrust upon Dowling to reclaim his starting spot. The physically gifted, but oft-injured former Virginia Cavalier has the skills to be a very good cover corner, but he must stay healthy to avoid being another second-round bust.