FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — If Malcolm Mitchell is ever going to live up to the potential he showed in 2016, it won’t be with the Patriots.

Mitchell, 26, was informed of his release on Monday.

This news comes after the wide receiver has dealt with knee problems over the past year. Mitchell, who missed all of last season, represents one of the bigger ‘what-ifs’ in recent memory for the Patriots’ franchise.

A fourth-round pick in 2016, Mitchell was able to gain Tom Brady’s trust during that first season, catching 32 passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns. The performance was one of the Patriots’ best by a rookie, with Brady, since Deion Branch in 2002 when he caught 43 passes for 489 yards and two touchdowns.

In Super Bowl LI, Mitchell caught six passes for 70 yards to help lift the Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons. Five of those catches came in the fourth quarter when the team was making their historic comeback.

Unfortunately, that might be his last impression with the Patriots.

Mitchell has been dealing with knee injuries since college where he had two operations during his time at Georgia. Last summer, Mitchell injured his knee in the second preseason game against the Houston Texans. He was then placed on the injured reserve and although he practiced at the end of the season, he remained on the IR for duration of the 2017 campaign.

There was hope this summer. Mitchell participated in the Patriots’ first OTAs. That, however, was the last time he’d suit up in a practice.

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