After leaving Saturday’s game against the Chiefs with a shoulder injury, linebacker Jerod Mayo won’t return to action for the Patriots this season. According to Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter), New England is placing the veteran defender on injured reserve.
Mayo, who has been with the Patriots since he was selected 10th overall in the 2008 draft, saw his role reduced this season. After starting all but two of his 87 regular season games in the first seven years of his NFL career, Mayo started only eight of 16 games in 2015, appearing in just over 400 defensive snaps. His 47 tackles represented a new career low.
Mayo, who will turn 30 next month, has seen injuries derail his last few seasons — he appeared in just 12 of 32 regular-season contests in 2013 and 2014 before staying healthy for most of this year. His declining production and increasingly shaky health may ultimately lead to the end of his time with the Pats.
Heading into 2016, Mayo projects to have the Patriots’ second-highest cap number behind Tom Brady, and he almost certainly won’t be back at that price. The final two seasons of Mayo’s contract are option years, and the Pats figure to turn down that option this winter before the linebacker’s $4MM bonus is due in March. He’ll become a free agent unless the two sides can work out a new deal – with a reduced salary – for him to remain in New England.
It’s not clear yet who the Patriots will sign or promote to their active roster to replace Mayo.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.