The New England Patriots Just Stole The Carolina Panthers’ Sixth-Round Running Back by Sean Wagner-McGough in NFL — 28 Jul, 2014 In the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers selected Tyler Gaffney, a running back out of Stanford. Later, the team signed Gaffney to a four-year contract that included a $96,000 signing bonus. The Panthers already paid Gaffney that money. Recently, Gaffney suffered a season-ending left knee injury. The Panthers wanted to place their rookie on injured reserve. However, with it being the offseason and because teams are allowed to have 90 players on their rosters right now, Gaffney would have to clear waivers before he could be placed on IR. Normally, this is not an issue in the offseason. But the Patriots are a smart, ruthless team. What did they do? They claimed Gaffney on waivers before he made it IR. Now, they have a running back on their team that had 21 rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.2 yards per carry in his final season at Stanford. And they didn’t even have to use a draft pick or pay a signing bonus to acquire Gaffney. It’s also important to note that this isn’t the first time the Patriots have pulled something like this. The team once claimed a then-injured Jake Ballard in the same manner, but Ballard would be cut in preseason the following year. The lesson in all of this: The Patriots are wise and ruthless and you don’t want to mess with them. You don’t try to sneak shit past the Patriots. They will get you. They always do. No, they did not break any rules. They just exploited the rules. The Patriot way.