The Patriots could soon have reinforcements in place on both sides of the ball. Among the players designated for return on Wednesday were offensive tackle Riley Reiff and edge rusher Trey Flowers, as noted by MassLive’s Chris Mason.
The former had started the season on IR, while the latter resided on the PUP list. Both players now have up to 21 days of practice before needing to be activated. The same is true of safety Cody Davis, whose practice window has been opened after he began the campaign on the PUP list.
Reiff joined the Patriots in the offseason in a move which gave the team a veteran option at the tackle spot, one which faced plenty of uncertainty heading into the year. His one-year deal includes over $4MM in guarantees, which led to the expectation he would see starting duties on the right side. He played there over the past two seasons in Cincinnati and Chicago. However, a leg injury suffered in new England’s preseason finale led to 34-year-old’s IR stint and kept him sidelined for the first month of the season.
The Patriots have primarily relied on veteran Trent Brown on the blindside in 2023, along with 2022 sixth-rounder Vederian Lowe on the right side. Calvin Anderson has also seen action this season, though, so it will be interesting to see where Reiff fits in upon return. The latter has 163 appearances and 149 starts to his name, and he will at least add an experienced depth option to a New England O-line which has battled injuries and inconsistency this year.
Flowers visited New England in March, doing so again in August. The second trip produced a reunion, as the 30-year-old spent his first four NFL seasons with the Patriots. His ability to play for the team for the first time since 2018 was delayed when he landed on the PUP list during final roster cutdowns, but a return will be welcomed given the injury suffered by Matt Judon in Week 4. The latter will miss considerable time while recovering from surgery to repair a torn bicep, leaving the Patriots thin on the edge. Flowers has only totaled 3.5 sacks in the last three years, but he could be a rotational contributor when activated.
As Mason notes, neither wideout Tyquan Thornton nor cornerback Jack Jones have been designated for return. Both are now eligible to come off IR, but their respective recovery timelines will see their practice windows opened at a later date. The Patriots’ CB room was dealt a significant blow with first-round rookie Christian Gonzalez suffering what could be a season-ending injury. That news prompted the reacquisition of J.C. Jackson, who could suit up as early as Week 5 alongside Reiff and Flowers if they are activated by that point.