The team tendered Cajuste — a 2019 third-round pick — as an RFA earlier this offseason, keeping him on the low-end number ($2.74MM). But Cajuste will hit the waiver wire. This move will clear the entire $2.74MM from the Pats’ cap sheet.
Despite being chosen in the 2019 draft, Cajuste did not see any playing time until the 2021 season. He entered the RFA tender equation due to spending all of 2019 on the non-football injury list. While Cajuste started five games between the 2021 and ’22 campaigns, the young tackle likely saw his status in the organization change after the draft and in free agency. New England chose three O-linemen from Rounds 4-5, doing so after having signed tackles Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson.
The Pats used one of their eight injury activations on Cajuste last year, and he replaced Isaiah Wynn at right tackle upon being activated. Cajuste started three straight games following his return from injury but saw his playing time reduced soon after. Midseason add Conor McDermott saw more playing time down the stretch, starting in each of the Patriots’ final six games. Pro Football Focus graded Cajuste as a middle-of-the-pack tackle in a 197-snap season. Only six of those snaps came after his run of starts ceased.
While Trent Brown remains in place at tackle for New England, the team has now separated from Cajuste and Wynn. Reiff received $4.15MM fully guaranteed, while Anderson signed a two-year, $7MM deal that includes $4MM locked in. The Pats still roster McDermott as well. Any team that claims Cajuste would be responsible for the RFA tender amount, making it a bit more likely he lands in free agency.