Patriots linebacker Jonathan Freeny was placed on injured reserve two weeks ago, and he won’t be healthy enough to be designated to return, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (Twitter link). Per the NFL’s IR rules, Freeny could have come back after eight weeks and helped out New England during the stretch run, but his shoulder injury will keep him out for the rest of the year.
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The Patriots could conceivably be in the market for linebacker depth after making the surprising decision to trade Jamie Collins to the Browns, but Freeny won’t be part of any cavalry that comes along. New England already made a move to acquire a linebacker last week, picking up former second-round pick Kyle Van Noy from the Lions by swapping late-round picks. Meanwhile, rookie Elandon Roberts and Barkevious Mingo figure to form a duo to replace Collins’ production, as Doug Kyed of NESN reported earlier today.
Freeny, who agreed to a two-year extension before the season began, played in five games (four starts) before getting injured. The 26-year-old had managed six tackles and a forced fumble, and was also a factor on special teams.