Overall, I don't want to say that the Patriots are worse off without Laurence Maroney. I would just say that the depth of the running backs, considering the group's age, is much thinner without Maroney. Therefore, in the short term, this move certainly does not help the Patriots.
When all is said and done, I really have mixed feeling about the Maroney deal. I like the fact that the Patriots have cut their losses and guaranteed something in return for Maroney. However, I don't like the depth the Patriots have at the running back position (considering the group's injury history). I'll take a wait and see approach on this one, although there's no question the Patriots will have to address the running back position next offseason.
For the Patriots, the deal ends the relatively frustrating experience with the former first-round pick. While Maroney averaged 3.9 yards per carry over four seasons with the Patriots, Maroney was held back by his tendency to "dance" at the line, leading to too many runs stopped at or behind the line.
With Maroney inactive for the Patriots' season opener against the Bengals, the Pats still managed 118 rushing yards with contributions from four different backs, including a particularly strong performance from Fred Taylor. Apparently, the team has enough faith that Taylor can stay healthy over the course of the season to make him their main weapon on the ground.