Isaiah Wynn

Patriots Place OL Isaiah Wynn, RB Rex Burkhead On IR

A trio of Patriots players landed on injured reserve today. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that New England has placed running back Rex Burkhead, left tackle Isaiah Wynn, and nose tackle Carl Davis on IR.

The Burkhead move isn’t overly surprising; the veteran RB suffered a torn ACL last weekend, ending his season. Now in his fourth year with New England, the veteran was having another solid season as a change-of-pace back. Through 10 games, the 30-year-old collected 274 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries. He had another 25 receptions for 192 yards and three scores.

While the Patriots will surely miss Burkhead’s veteran presence, the team does have a number of options at running back. Damien Harris has emerged as a solid option in the running game, and Cam Newton can still turn to pass-catcher James White. The team is also rostering former first rounder Sony Michel, who could return this weekend after having been sidelined since Week 3.

Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder, was limited to only eight games through his first two seasons in the NFL. However, in 2020, he’s emerged as one of New England’s best offensive lineman, and he’s shown versatility by playing both offensive tackle and offensive guard. The 24-year-old suffered a knee injury during last weekend’s loss to the Texans, but the lineman could theoretically return before the season is over.

Davis, 28, joined the Patriots after being signed off the Jaguars practice squad in October. The defensive lineman has seen time in three games for New England this season, collecting three tackles. He’s appeared in 39 career games (13 starts) with the Patriots, Ravens, Browns, Jaguars, and Colts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Patriots Trade Brandin Cooks To Rams

With all of the action we’ve seen this offseason, it’s easy to forget that April blockbusters are also relatively common. In fact, we had a significant trade go down two years ago today. On April 4th, 2018, the Rams acquired wideout Brandin Cooks and a fourth-rounder from the Patriots for a first-rounder and sixth-rounder.

Cooks had actually been acquired by New England only 13 months before the Rams/Pats deal. While the former first-rounder had a solid season as one of Tom Brady‘s main targets, he didn’t match his production with the Saints from 2015 or 2016. Cooks ultimately finished the 2017 regular season with 65 receptions, 1,082 yards, and seven scores. While the receiver had a standout performance during that year’s AFC Championship, he was limited to only a single catch in the Super Bowl before exiting with a concussion.

With Cooks set to hit free agency following the 2018 season, the Pats decided to ship the receiver to Los Angeles. The Rams immediately inked the wideout to a five-year, $81MM extension, and that looked to be a good decision at first. Despite playing alongside Robert Woods, Todd Gurley, and Cooper Kupp, Cooks finished that year with 80 receptions, five touchdowns, and a career-high 1,204 receiving yards. He was productive during the Rams’ run to the Super Bowl, finishing with 292 receiving yards in three games.

However, the wheels somewhat fell off in 2019. Cooks battled several ailments, including a concussion that knocked him out of the lineup for several weeks. When all was said and done, Cooks put up some of his lowest numbers since his rookie campaign, finishing with 42 receptions for 583 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games.

With $12MM guaranteed in 2020 and his contract lasting through the 2023 season, there were rumblings that the Rams could look to trade the receiver this offseason. However, following the organization’s decision to move on from Gurley, it sounds like Cooks isn’t on the block.

On New England’s side, the team used that first-rounder to select offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn. The Georgia product sat out his entire rookie campaign, and he landed on IR following Week 2 of the 2019 season. However, he managed to return in Week 12, and he proceeded to start each of the Patriots’ remaining regular season and postseason games. In true New England fashion, they traded the sixth-rounder for a pair of seventh-rounders.

Both Cooks and (to a lesser extent) Wynn have been productive for their teams so far. However, their future performance will go a long way in determining who won this specific trade. For the time being, we’re comfortable grading both squads as “incomplete.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots To Activate T Isaiah Wynn

Isaiah Wynn will make another return to the Patriots’ active roster. The second-year tackle missed the past eight games due to turf toe, but Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter) the Patriots will move him from IR back into their starting lineup.

The 2018 first-round pick’s NFL odyssey has not gone smoothly. After an Achilles tear wiped out his would-be rookie season, Wynn suffered an injury in Week 2 that sent him to IR. But the Patriots are set to give him another try. Considering their unusually shaky left tackle situation, Wynn staying healthy this time would represent a key development for the defending Super Bowl champions.

New England has used in-season signing Marshall Newhouse at left tackle for the past eight games. While Pro Football Focus slots the journeyman as a middling tackle this season (No. 48 overall), he’s been an obvious downgrade from Trent Brown. The Pats have benefited from a steady succession at left tackle for nearly 30 years, going from Bruce Armstrong to Matt Light to Nate Solder to Brown. The franchise had designs on Wynn continuing that pipeline, but the North Carolina State product’s injury trouble has put his future in question.

The Pats used the first of their two 2018 first-round picks on Wynn. While he’s only played 82 snaps as a pro, PFF did rate his limited work as positive. He will have a chance to build on that soon, likely this week against the Cowboys.

To make room for Wynn on their 53-man roster, the Pats placed wide receiver Gunner Olszewski on IR. Olszewski is battling ankle and hamstring injuries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Gronk, Jets, O-Line, Enunwa

Although Rob Gronkowski issued another reminder he will not come back this season, the former Patriots tight end has not closed the door on a 2020 comeback or beyond.

I wouldn’t say ‘never coming back,'” Gronkowski said Tuesday, via ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss. “I’m 30 years old. I’m young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it. I’m feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man. It’s always an option in the back of my head.”

Robert Kraft was hopeful Gronkowski would return this season. He would need to do so by November 30, due to league rules. The Patriots, who have struggled to generate consistent offense against the better teams on their schedule, have certainly missed perhaps their future Hall of Famer this season. Gronk jokingly acknowledged this, but it looks like the will-he/won’t-he rumors will continue into next year.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • It is possible every Jets offensive line starter from Week 1 will not be part of the 2020 team. The Jets cut Kelechi Osemele, and the rest of that September group — Kelvin Beachum, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters and Brandon Shell — are either free agents (Beachum, Kalil, Shell) or players without any guaranteed money left (Winters). It would not be a surprise if all were elsewhere next year, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Third-round pick Chuma Edoga can be expected to start next season, and trade-acquisition guard Alex Lewis has intrigued the team. But beyond that, GM Joe Douglas will be looking to overhaul the unit. The Jets’ $61MM in projected cap space is less than they’ve possessed in recent years, however.
  • Quincy Enunwa‘s fines for missing rehab sessions involved some shaky communication, per Cimini, who adds that the wide receiver was told to talk to three different staffers — wideouts coach Shawn Jefferson, HC Adam Gase and then Douglas — before receiving clarity on this matter. While Enunwa’s second neck injury in three years puts his career in jeopardy, this process and the one that led to Osemele’s exit may factor into how free agents view the Jets.
  • Isaiah Wynn can come off IR this week, and Bill Belichick confirmed (via NESN.com’s Zack Cox, on Twitter) the Patriots do plan on activating him when he’s ready. The 2018 first-round pick has played in only two games, missing all of last season with an Achilles tear and the past eight weeks because of turf toe.
  • Kamu Grugier-Hill has become an Eagles linebacker starter, but the former sixth-round pick was once in the Patriots’ plans. The Pats drafted Grugier-Hill in the 2016 sixth round but cut him before that season. They wanted to pass the Eastern Illinois alum through to their practice squad, viewing him as a developmental piece (per Reiss), but the Eagles claimed him.
  • The Dolphins recently agreed to an extension with Allen Hurns, making every member of their current receiver nucleus signed through at least 2020.

Patriots’ Isaiah Wynn Returns To Practice

Patriots tackle Isaiah Wynn returned to practice on Wednesday, meaning that he is now designated for return from injured reserve. It’s big news for a team that boasts a perfect record, but also has some room for improvement up front. 

Wynn takes the second and final allotted Pats IR-DTR spot, meaning that the season is officially over for Josh Gordon and the rest of the Patriots’ players on injured reserve. The Patriots reportedly had no designs on bringing Gordon back this season, but the wide receiver insists that he’ll be healthy and ready to play before the year is through. Ultimately, this will probably result in Gordon’s release, with the chance that he could hook on with a different club in 2019. In case you missed it: The first IR-DTR slot was used to bring back wide receiver N’Keal Harry.

Wynn, a Pats 2018 first-round pick, left the team’s Week 2 shutout in Miami due to turf toe and was placed on IR soon afterwards. He’ll get nothing but hand-pounds and hugs now that he’s back on the practice field – the Pats have missed him, especially in a season being spent without center David Andrews.

In other Pats injury news – tight end Matt LaCosse (knee) was also back at practice on Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Ramsey, Wynn, Conner, Brady

Coach Doug Marrone confirmed at Jalen Ramsey will play for the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football, as Tiffany Blackmon of NFL Network relays (Twitter link).

“Jalen and I have always had a good open relationship,” Marrone said. “…we sat down yesterday and talked about what went on with him and I… that’s behind us right now…”

Blackmon adds that Ramsey is focused on the game against the Titans. It was reported earlier today that the team may be targeting Friday as the ideal time to trade the cornerback. While we await to see if Ramsey ends up elsewhere, let’s take a look at some notes from the AFC:

  • With LT Isaiah Wynn on injured reserve with a toe injury, the Patriots may move starting LG Joe Thuney to the tackle spot, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Wynn isn’t eligible to return for another eight weeks but it’s possible he finds his way back on the field at that point.
  • James Conners knee injury doesn’t appear to be serious, Jeff Hathhorn of 93.7 The Fan relays (Twitter link). Conner expects to play for the Steelers this Sunday.
  • Tom Brady is dealing with a “minor” calf ailment, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passes along on Twitter. Brady was limited today in practice, though there’s been no indication that his status for the Patriots’ game this week is in jeopardy.

Patriots To Place T Isaiah Wynn On IR

For the second straight year, Isaiah Wynn will end up on IR. The Patriots will shut down their left tackle starter for the time being, with Field Yates reporting (via Twitter) the foot injury he suffered in Week 2 will result in an IR stay.

Wynn, who missed all of his rookie season, will be out at least eight weeks. The Pats signed former Buccaneers starter Caleb Benenoch earlier Tuesday, and he will end up taking Wynn’s roster spot.

The 2018 first-round pick left New England’s Week 2 shutout in Miami due to turf toe. Benenoch is the latest new face on the Pats’ front. They made three preseason trades for offensive linemen and turned to newcomers Korey Cunningham and Marshall Newhouse in place of Wynn. The Pats lost Marcus Cannon to a Week 1 injury; he missed Week 2. Now they’ll have to get by without Wynn. The defending Super Bowl champions are already without center David Andrews for the season.

Even though they won Super Bowl LIII without Wynn’s services, the Pats no longer have Trent Brown as an insurance policy. Some lower-profile veterans will now be charged with protecting Tom Brady‘s blind side. While offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia has proven repeatedly to be able to construct high-end blocking groups, this will be his latest challenge.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Notes: Williams, Wynn, Brady

Trent Williams to the Patriots? Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) says Pats fans shouldn’t hold their breath. As Yates notes, the Redskins tackle seemed like a fit just a couple of weeks ago, but left tackle Isaiah Wynn is progressing in his recovery and Dan Skipper is getting significant reps in the interim. Meanwhile, as ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter) points out, Cole Croston is also back in the mix.

While you contemplate Williams’ next destination, here’s more from New England:

  • More from Reiss, who breaks down Wynn’s road to recovery from a torn Achilles suffered one year ago. He also touches on Skipper, who offers prototypical size at 6’9″, 310 pounds.
  • The Patriots sent a conditional 2020 seventh-round pick to the Falcons (originally from the Eagles) in the Eric Saubert trade, Howard Balzer tweets. It’s an extremely low-cost deal for the Pats, who might have found a new blocking tight end to fortify their group.
  • Superstar quarterback Tom Brady is still looking to play until the age of 45.

Patriots Notes: Thomas, Michel, Gronk, Wynn

Demaryius Thomas is not a lock to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster and may well begin the season on the reserve/PUP list. The Patriots started that process Sunday by placing the Pro Bowl wide receiver on their active/PUP list, which applies to players not healthy enough to begin participating in training camp. The Pats used the same designation for Sony Michel, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Michel will certainly be part of the 2019 Patriots and is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Thomas tore an Achilles in December, joining longtime receiver teammate Emmanuel Sanders in that regard. The latter, however, is further along in his recovery, having not started Broncos camp on the PUP list.

Here is the latest out of New England:

  • Patriots third-round pick Yodny Cajuste underwent quadriceps surgery before the draft and landed on the defending Super Bowl champions’ reserve/NFI list, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. As is the case with the active/PUP list, players can come off this list at any point during camp. Cajuste figures to mix in as a swing option for the Patriots as a rookie.
  • If Rob Gronkowski does follow through on a comeback, might the Patriots be wise to assure him blocking responsibilities will be limited? While the future Hall of Famer was a plus blocker for his position, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe suggests the Pats use Gronk as a hybrid-type player that does not have the same kind of in-line role he previously held. The 30-year-old icon has slimmed down this offseason, one that has reportedly not featured much in the way of strength work.
  • Deatrich Wise and Nate Ebner will join Thomas and Michel on the Pats’ active/PUP list, Reiss tweets. A third-year defensive end, Wise has not missed a game in two seasons.
  • Isaiah Wynn, however, will not appear on the Pats’ active/PUP list, Reiss adds (via Twitter). The 2018 first-round pick missed all of his rookie season due to a torn Achilles’ tendon. Suffering the injury before last season began, Wynn is expected to suit up when the Patriots convene for their 2019 camp and line up as New England’s starting left tackle.
  • The Pats do not appear to have an open spot at quarterback, with Reiss noting Brian Hoyer will stick as Tom Brady‘s top backup and rookie Jarrett Stidham is likely assured of a roster spot as the team’s latest developmental QB project. This puts 2018 seventh-round pick Danny Etling on the verge of again falling short of a spot on the team’s active roster. But he may have an outside shot as a Taysom Hill-like role, per Reiss. While the Purdue and LSU alum never rushed for more than 200 yards in a season in college, Reiss points to his 86-yard touchdown run during 2018 preseason play as a sign this outside-the-box notion could work. The Patriots probably aren’t too eager to take Brady off the field, however.

Patriots Notes: Gordon, Berrios, Wynn

A WR depth chart topped by Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, and Josh Gordon could make Patriots quarterback Tom Brady quite happy, but Gordon’s status obviously remains uncertain. Jim McBride of the Boston Globe writes that it would make sense for Roger Goodell to lift Gordon’s indefinite suspension and reinstate the troubled wideout in time for training camp, especially in light of the commissioner’s statement that he wants to get Gordon back on the playing field. After all, the nurturing environment and structured routine of training camp would theoretically be good for Gordon and may allow him to continue to keep his personal demons at bay.

There have been no reports suggesting that Gordon has actually applied for reinstatement, but there were earlier indications that the NFLPA may begin to “lay groundwork” for his return in May, and that there was a chance he could return by training camp. As of right now, though, Gordon is still in a holding pattern.

Let’s round up several more items from the defending champs:

  • Speaking of wide receivers, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes 2018 sixth-rounder Braxton Berrios will crack the 53-man roster and could give the Patriots the type of Danny Amendola-like slot option that Brady loves. On the heels of a strong performance this spring, Berrios, who spent his entire rookie season on IR, has already arrived at the team’s facility well in advance of training camp. His chances of making the team are enhanced by his ability to return punts.
  • Both Reiss and McBride discuss the importance of Isaiah Wynn, who is expected to become the Patriots’ starting left tackle in 2019. Like Berrios, Wynn missed all of his rookie season due to injury, though all reports this year have suggested that he would be ready for training camp. Per McBride, the coaching staff has been pleased with Wynn’s progress in the mental aspect of the game, and Wynn says he physically feels ready to go. However, Reiss says the 2018 first-rounder could still open camp on the PUP list.
  • The Patriots stayed out of the supplemental draft for the 20th year in a row, though Reiss suggests the team could have been intrigued by safety Jalen Thompson (who was the only player to be selected this year). But surrendering a 2020 mid-round selection to add to a position group that already has quite a lot of depth just did not make sense for New England.
  • Gil Brandt of NFL.com examines the best fits for some of the top remaining free agents, and he believes the Patriots would make the perfect landing spot for DE Allen Bailey. New England did meet with Bailey back in March, and the 30-year-old fits the profile of the type of versatile D-lineman that the Pats have a history of signing on the cheap.