Isaiah Wynn

Patriots OL David Andrews, Isaiah Wynn To Miss Time

New England’s interior offensive line took some hits in today’s win over the Jets. Both starting center David Andrews and left guard Isaiah Wynn left today’s game with injuries that could force the Patriots to reconfigure their men upfront for the remainder of the year.

Andrews has been the longtime center in New England since signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2015. While he’s missed his fair share of games in the past with injuries, a seven-game season would easily be a career-low for the 30-year-old out of Georgia. Andrews left today’s game with a thigh injury, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. He’ll undergo more testing to determine the severity of the injury, but the Patriots are reportedly not expecting good news as they fear the injury may end his season.

Wynn has also been a consistent starting presence on the Patriots offensive line since being selected in the first-round four years ago. Wynn was originally intended to contribute as a tackle but was moved inside in 2020 and has continued in that role this season. Wynn is, unfortunately, a bit more accustomed to missing extended periods of time than Andrews. Wynn tore his Achilles tendon in 2018, forcing him to miss his entire rookie season. He spent stretches of time on injured reserve in each of the following two seasons for a toe injury and a knee injury. Wynn left today’s game “with a foot injury,” according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, and could also miss extended time due to the ailment. He, too, will undergo further testing in order to determine the extent of the injury.

Rookie Cole Strange is expected to fill in for Wynn during any time he may miss. The two have been jostling in recent weeks for a starting spot, despite both holding starting roles for most of the season. With Wynn out, New England will have little choice but to let Strange take the opportunity. Andrew’s backup is James Ferentz, who started at center for each of the past two games that Andrews has missed lately.

These injuries seem to pile onto similar blows to the team’s offensive line this season. Andrews could be joining Chasen Hines and Marcus Cannon on IR, and, even if Wynn doesn’t get assigned to IR, he may be sitting out like Andrew Stueber has done recently due to injury.

Before today’s win over their division-opponents, the Patriots were fourth in the AFC East. They now sit at third with a 6-4 record, one win behind current division leaders Miami (7-3) and Buffalo (7-3). The injuries will certainly make it difficult for New England to stay in what has turned into a very intriguing division race.

Patriots Receiving Calls On Isaiah Wynn, Kendrick Bourne

The Patriots fielded trade calls on Isaiah Wynn this offseason but opted to hang onto the fifth-year tackle. The team has since benched the former first-round pick, pointing to a 2023 exit. New England is entertaining the prospect of Wynn departing sooner.

Interest in Wynn has surfaced again ahead of the Nov. 1 trade deadline, according to NFL.com’s Mike Giardi, who notes (via Twitter) the Pats have received calls on both Wynn and Kendrick Bourne. Both players have seen their Pats stock plummet in 2022, leading to uncertainty about their places on the team going forward.

After playing 16 games last season, the once-injury-prone Wynn has stayed healthy this year as well. But the Pats have both changed Wynn’s position, moving him from left tackle to the right side, and benched him. Wynn was a healthy scratch against the Bears on Monday. Marcus Cannon, whom the Pats initially brought back as a practice squad stash this year, started in Wynn’s place against Chicago. With swing option Yodny Cajuste being designated for return this week, Wynn’s path back to regular duty becomes more complicated.

In six games this season, Wynn has committed an NFL-high eight penalties and been charged with three sacks allowed. Pro Football Focus has still viewed Wynn (39 career starts) as a plus run-blocking presence, but his trade value has dropped since this season began. Wynn’s fifth-year option salary ($10.4MM) also stands to interfere with a potential trade. If Wynn is not moved over the next week, he will almost certainly depart in free agency come March.

A formerly well-regarded 49ers auxiliary receiver, Bourne caught 55 passes for 800 yards and five touchdowns last season. Despite being signed to a lower-cost deal, Bourne outperformed fellow UFA addition Nelson Agholor. Issues during training camp and the Pats’ receiver additions have affected Bourne’s status, and he did not play against the Bears. The ex-49er has just 11 catches for 156 yards this season. He has taken a backseat to trade acquisition DeVante Parker and second-round pick Tyquan Thornton in New England’s now-Matt Patricia-run offense.

Believed to be available for “the right price,” Bourne is signed through 2024 via the three-year, $15MM deal he signed last March. Trading the 27-year-old pass catcher would save the Patriots $5MM, and Bourne — attached to a $3.5MM 2022 base salary — may well welcome a scenery change given the way his year has gone.

T Marcus Cannon To Join Patriots’ Practice Squad

The offensive tackle position has been a sore spot for the Patriots this offseason, with plenty of uncertainty surrounding the projected starters. In a move aimed at adding veteran depth, a familiar face is being brought back. 

Not long after hosting him for a free agent visit, New England is set to sign Marcus Cannon to their practice squad (Twitter link via ESPN’s Field Yates). The deal marks a return to the Patriots for the 34-year-old. Cannon was a fifth-round pick of the team in 2011.

Over the course of nine years with the Patriots, Cannon made 155 appearances and 69 starts. He was a full-time first-teamer from 2016 to 2019, though injuries caused him to miss several games during that stretch. New England traded him to the Texans last March, a move which was considered increasingly likely after the Patriots re-acquired Trent Brown.

In Houston, Cannon started all four games he played in, but once again ran into injury problems. A disc issue in his back landed him on IR, ultimately ending his season. To little surprise, then, the Texans released the TCU product one year after acquiring him. Now, Cannon will return to New England to provide depth at a position of uncertainty.

Brown ended up being switched to left tackle this offseason, in no small part due to the struggles of 2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn. The latter found himself in trade talk this summer, but will remain with the Patriots on the right side. Behind those two, New England has Michael OnwenuJustin Herron and Yodny Cajuste as depth on the 53-man roster. Now, they have a familiar, experienced veteran as an emergency option.

Patriots Notes: Wynn, RBs, Thornton

The Patriots are reportedly open to trading OT Isaiah Wynn, who has been moved from left tackle to right tackle this year after lining up exclusively on the blindside over his first few seasons in the NFL (aside from a 2020 cameo at LG and some training camp work at RT as a rookie). As expected, however, outside interest in the former first-rounder is limited at this point, as Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets.

Although Wynn did play in 16 regular season contests in 2021, he comes with an extensive injury history. He is also tethered to a $10.4MM salary for 2022 since New England exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, and at least some teams consider him a tackle-guard “tweener.” All of that suggests that the Pats — who must also consider the injury history of LT Trent Brown and the underwhelming training camp performances of backups Justin Herron and Yodny Cajuste — may not fetch a high enough return to pull the trigger.

Now for more out of Foxborough:

  • Per Mike Giardi of the NFL Network, Brown was not told he would be lining up at left tackle when he re-signed with the Patriots this offseason (Twitter link). The 29-year-old has taken all of his snaps on the right side of the line since 2019, and one wonders if he would have signed the contract, which pays him $6.5MM per year over the next two years, if he had known he would be playing a premium position. Giardi also tweets that Wynn — perhaps as a result of a position switch in his platform year — is not a “happy camper,” so there is plenty of intrigue surrounding the team’s OL bookends in 2022.
  • As Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes, Patriots running backs Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris will be part of a timeshare this year, but as opposed to 2021, they are more likely to remain on the field on third downs. In light of James White‘s retirement, New England is unlikely to have a defined “passing down back,” and that is especially true in the wake of the ankle injury that Ty Montgomery suffered during the team’s preseason finale on Friday. Reiss notes in a separate piece that Montgomery seemed like a roster lock as a third option behind Stevenson and Harris, and the Pats are still awaiting word on the severity of his injury.
  • On Monday, rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton underwent surgery to repair his fractured clavicle, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. It was previously reported that Thornton is expected to return to the field sometime in October, and the six-to-eight-week recovery timeline that Fowler provides jibes with that report.
  • The injury that landed rookie OL Andrew Stueber on the reserve/NFI list is a torn hamstring, as Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports (via Twitter). Stueber sustained the injury while training after the draft, and it could sideline him for his entire rookie season.

Patriots Fielding Calls On T Isaiah Wynn

Marred often by injuries, Isaiah Wynn‘s Patriots tenure looks to now include a position switch. Wynn has lined up at right tackle for most of this year, but his status as New England’s right-side starter may not be locked in.

The Patriots have taken calls on Wynn, according to Albert Breer of SI.com. The former first-round pick is going into his fifth-year option season. Being tied to a guaranteed $10.4MM salary will hurt Wynn’s trade value, but the Patriots are not averse to making moves involving contract-year players.

New England’s status near the bottom of the NFL’s cap-space hierarchy ($6.9MM in space; 28th in the league) is influencing trade interest, per Breer, who adds the Pats are interested in using one of their deeper positions to move money off their payroll. Nelson Agholor has come up here as well, but the former first-round wideout is tied to a $9MM base salary. And New England is now expected to be without second-round rookie wideout Tyquan Thornton for several weeks. Tackle might not qualify as a deep Pats position, however.

Wynn missed his entire rookie season, was out eight games in 2019 and six in 2020. Last season, Wynn suited up for 16 games. Pro Football Focus has consistently graded the Georgia product well when available, slotting him as a top-15 tackle in 2020 and a top-30 player at the position last year. Teams still view Wynn as a tackle-guard tweener, Breer adds. The Patriots have also seen some turnover on their O-line this offseason, having already traded a longtime guard anchor (Shaq Mason) and having let their other 2021 guard starter (Ted Karras) sign with the Bengals.

The Pats only picked up a fifth-round pick for Mason. A Wynn deal would seemingly not produce a great return, either, despite positional value. Moving Wynn would also be risky due to left tackle Trent Brown‘s injury-prone past. The Patriots have former third-round pick Yodny Cajuste (two rookie-year starts) and third-year blocker Justin Herron (10 career starts) as potential options if Wynn is not on the team. The Pats also have rookie Andrew Stueber on their NFI list; the seventh-round pick might miss his entire rookie year.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Gesicki, Lawson

Jake Bailey signed an extension with the Patriots earlier this month, and we’re now getting details on the punter’s new deal. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter), Bailey earned a four-year pact worth $13.125MM, with $6.275MM of that deal fully guaranteed.

Bailey got a raise on his 2022 salary, jumping from $3.986MM to $4.5MM. The move lowered his cap number, however, reducing it from $4.058MM to $2.025MM. Next year, Bailey’s cap number will increase to $3.415MM before going to $3.79MM in both 2024 and 2025.

“I’m just so happy and blessed I get a few more years here,” Bailey said last week (via the team’s website). “I was just kind of on the phone with my agent and I was like, ‘Alright, that’s it. We’re good with that,’ and it wasn’t like a crazy big moment. But it was fine and a huge milestone in my life and just thankful God put me in this position.”

The 2019 fifth-round pick out of Stanford has spent his entire career in New England, including a 2020 campaign where he earned first-team All-Pro honors.

More notes out of the AFC East…

  • While you should never put too much stock into preseason depth charts, Volin points out on Twitter that the Patriots‘ initial depth chart shows that the team is committing to Trent Brown at left tackle and Isaiah Wynn at right tackle. The two offensive lineman are swapping positions following a 2021 campaign that mostly saw Wynn at LT and Brown at RT.
  • Mike Gesicki leads the Dolphins in receptions since the beginning of the 2019 campaign, but the tight end may find himself as a secondary target for Tua Tagovailoa in 2022. As Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com points out, Gesicki will likely be fourth in line for targets behind wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Cedrick Wilson. As new head coach Mike McDaniel noted, the offense won’t try to force the ball to the tight end, but there will surely be situations where the team is counting on Gesicki to contribute. “It’s something that we’ve talked to the tight ends about at length — it comes in waves,” McDaniel told Beasley. “There have been practices where he’s got seven or eight … he had more targets maybe Practice 7 — it was 7 or 8 — than Tyreek had. It’s just one of those things that you try in the game of football, especially when you are a pass receiver at any position, to really focus on what you can control. You can’t control the defenses. You can’t control the progression. You can’t control the pass rush.”
  • Veteran defensive end Shaq Lawson is back in Buffalo after re-joining the organization this offseason. Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic expects Lawson to ultimately make the Bills 53-man roster, but he’s fallen behind the likes of A.J. Epenesa and Boogie Basham on the depth chart and will likely serve as the team’s fifth defensive end. The 28-year-old started seven games for the Jets in 2021, collecting 23 tackles and one sack.
  • If Tre’Davious White isn’t ready for the start of the regular season, then there’s a good chance the Bills will be starting a rookie cornerback opposite Dane Jackson. As Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports writes, first-round rookie Kaiir Elam would be a natural choice, but he’s struggled during training camp. As a result, sixth-round rookie Christian Benford could find himself in the starting lineup come Week 1.

Patriots Notes: Parker, Tackles, Cornerback

After seven years with the rival Dolphins, wide receiver DeVante Parker is set to be a difference-maker in the Patriots offense this season, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. With the early days of camp in New England focusing on the red zone, Parker’s 6’3″, 219 lb. frame has been on full display.

The Patriots don’t have a traditional No. 1 receiver this season. They return last year’s top-three receivers, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor, and they recently traded away former first-round pick N’Keal Harry. They also drafted Baylor wide receiver Tyquan Thornton in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Without a bona fide star in the receiving corps, they’ll count on each receiver to contribute their own versatile skills to the offense, and Parker’s, it appears, will come in handy in the restricted confines of the red zone.

Here are a few other notes from Patriots training camp, as reported by Reiss:

  • After spending last season with Isaiah Wynn at left tackle and Trent Brown at right tackle, spring ball saw the two swap sides. Head coach Bill Belichick downplayed it as a way to build versatility in his top offensive linemen, a worthwhile trait to shield from injury, but it may end up being a permanent change. As New England opened up training camp this week, Wynn and Brown remained switched at right and left tackle, respectively. Brown has even reportedly been “feeling (at) home” on the left side of the line.
  • According to Reiss, one of the biggest remaining question marks on the Patriots’ roster is at cornerback opposite Jalen Mills. The top-two options so far in camp have been veterans Terrance Mitchell and Malcolm Butler. Mitchell got the first opportunity of camp and received praise from Belichick in early practices. Butler returns to the team this summer after a three-year vacation in Nashville and a one-year retirement after signing to play for the Cardinals. He admits he’s still “getting in shape” after not playing at all in 2021. Reiss reports that rookie fourth-round pick Jack Jones is next in line, ahead of rookie third-round pick Marcus Jones, and returning backups Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Justin Bethel, and Shaun Wade.

Trent Brown At LT, Isaiah Wynn At RT, During Patriots’ Minicamp; Latest On Cole Strange

Could Isaiah Wynn‘s absence from Patriots OTAs, which compelled New England to deploy Trent Brown at left tackle in Wynn’s stead, have precipitated a permanent shakeup? Per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required), Wynn suited up at right tackle during mandatory minicamp last week, while Brown remained at left tackle.

Howe reminds us that, at the Patriots’ 2018 minicamp — during Brown’s first stint in Foxborough — Brown worked at LT while Wynn lined up at RT. The two players switched roles for that year’s training camp, but Wynn suffered an Achilles tear during a preseason game several weeks later, and he missed the entire season as a result. Following Wynn’s injury, Brown returned to left tackle and parlayed a strong showing at the position into a lucrative free agent contract with the Raiders the following offseason.

Still, there is precedent for the team to use Brown and Wynn at LT and RT, respectively, before training camp begins, only to have them flip-flop when the serious work gets underway in late July. On the other hand, 2018 was Wynn’s rookie season, so it could be that head coach Bill Belichick was simply easing him into the professional ranks during minicamp that year.

So there is no way of knowing what Belichick is currently envisioning with respect to his OL bookends, though he downplayed the significance of last week’s minicamp alignment. When asked about Wynn’s RT time, Belichick said it is in keeping with the team’s modus operandi for the last 20 years, thereby suggesting that he is merely trying to create positional flexibility (via Andy Hart of WEEI.com).

Wynn, who is entering a platform year and whose earning power could be seriously undermined if he were to remain at right tackle, is saying the right things at this point. “Do I like the change? It’s wherever they need me, player,” he said. When asked about his contract status, he replied, “I ain’t worried about no contract right now. I’m focused on being the best player I can be for the team so we can move forward to the season. … That’ll come when it comes.”

Another factor to consider is that Brown, not Wynn, has been the one developing chemistry with rookie first-rounder Cole Strange, the team’s presumptive LG. Although many pundits believed New England was reaching when it made Strange the No. 29 overall pick of this year’s draft, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com said the Chattanooga product looks like a plug-and-play starter, so the reps shared by him and whomever lines up to his left are especially meaningful.

On a related note, Strange is just one of two 2022 first-rounders who have yet to sign their rookie deals (Steelers QB Kenny Pickett is the other). As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes, there are a few reasons for that. One, the Pats simply do not have enough cap space at the moment, which is a matter that can easily be resolved. Two, it could be that Strange is angling for larger roster bonuses and lower base salaries over the life of his rookie deal, just so he can get his money more quickly every year. And finally, while the top 28 picks of the 2021 draft received fully-guaranteed contracts, last year’s No. 29 selection, Eric Stokes, received a 96% guarantee for the fourth and final year of his rookie accord. Since Strange is this year’s No. 29 pick, perhaps a modicum of guaranteed money is at issue between player and team.

However, even the 30th-32nd picks in this year’s draft class received a 100% guarantee, so Strange has some leverage here if that really is one of the reasons for the delay.

Latest On Patriots LT Isaiah Wynn

June 5: Wynn is indeed expected to be present at the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp, which opens on June 7, per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). Howe tweets that Wynn’s absence was not related to a desire to be dealt.

May 29: Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn was absent for the team’s voluntary OTAs last week, and that has led Mike Reiss of ESPN.com to wonder if the club might consider an O-line shakeup. Trent Brown, who agreed to a two-year contract in March and who is currently penciled in at right tackle, took the LT reps in Wynn’s absence.

Though missing a series of voluntary May practices may not be significant for a more established player, one would think that a player in Wynn’s situation would want to take every opportunity to continue developing his game. For one, the Georgia product is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, and if he turns in a strong performance in 2022, he could set himself up for a massive payday in 2023.

Second, 2021 was the first time that Wynn had appeared in more than 10 games in a season. He missed his entire rookie campaign in 2018 due to a preseason Achilles tear, and a toe injury in 2019 and a knee ailment in 2020 limited him to a total of 18 games across those two seasons. Last year, he suited up for 16 contests, and while Pro Football Focus assigned him a strong overall grade of 74.9, Reiss suggests that New England might be regretting exercising his fifth-year option for 2022, which includes a fully-guaranteed $10.4MM salary.

Perhaps Wynn skipped OTAs because he does not believe his hold on the LT job is truly in jeopardy and because he wants to limit his exposure to another injury whenever possible. However, his decision opened the door for Brown — who parlayed a strong performance at left tackle for the Pats in 2018 into a lucrative free agent contract with the Raiders the following year — to begin building chemistry with first-round rookie Cole Strange, the club’s presumptive left guard.

Justin Herron, the 2020 sixth-rounder who has started 10 games for the Pats during his first two years in the league due to injuries to Wynn and Brown (among others), took over RT duties during OTAs. Brown himself appeared in just 14 games over the 2020-21 seasons, so the swing tackle role is an especially important one in Foxborough at the moment.

Given recent history, there is a good chance that Wynn, Brown, and Herron will all see time as Mac Jones‘ blindside blocker in 2022. Wynn, though, has the most upside and perhaps the most to gain, and he will begin his quest for a top-of-the-market deal — and perhaps to reestablish himself as the unquestioned starter at LT — when mandatory minicamp opens in June.

OL Notes: Browns, Bakhtiari, Pats, Bears

Although the Browns signed the Seahawks’ primary center of the past two years (Ethan Pocic), they are first attempting to see if one of their recent backups can claim J.C. Tretter‘s old job. Nick Harris is working as Cleveland’s first-string center during OTAs, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal notes. A fifth-round pick out of Washington in 2020, Harris made one start in each of the past two seasons — the late-2021 outing came when Tretter contracted COVID-19 — but he practiced extensively with the Browns’ first-unit O-line last season. Tretter dealt with injuries, and while the veteran played through them, he often sat out practices or worked in a limited capacity. This gave Harris a runway to full-fledged starter action and gave the Browns enough confidence to make Tretter a March cap casualty. The NFLPA president remains a free agent.

Ditching Tretter, 30, remains a gamble for the Browns, who still hold the NFL’s most cap space. Tretter graded as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-best center in 2021, started all but one game in five Cleveland seasons and provided a solid pivot on one of the league’s best lines. Here is the latest from the O-line scene:

  • The ACL tear David Bakhtiari suffered on New Year’s Eve 2020 wrecked his 2021 season, limiting him to just one game (Week 18). The Packers are proceeding cautiously with their two-time All-Pro left tackle this offseason. Matt LaFleur confirmed the team is holding Bakhtiari out of OTAs, via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky (on Twitter), for conservation purposes. The expectation is the 10th-year veteran returns for training camp. Still, the lengthy recovery Bakhtiari required from his injury makes his status worth monitoring ahead of an age-31 season.
  • New England picked up Isaiah Wynn‘s fifth-year option in 2021, guaranteeing the injury-prone left tackle $10.4MM this season. But he has missed OTA time, leaving recently re-signed right tackle Trent Brown — the left tackle on the Patriots’ 2018 Super Bowl-winning team — to fill in on the left side. The Pats have made a few trades involving contract-year talent under Bill Belichick — Sony Michel, Brandin Cooks and Jamie Collins being recent examples. If New England was to dangle Wynn, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes teams would be willing to fork over a reasonable return (subscription required). That might be a bridge too far, considering the Pats already traded a veteran blocker (Shaq Mason) and saw Brown’s run of absences continue with eight more last season.
  • The Bears have 2021 second-rounder Teven Jenkins pegged as their right tackle starter. Jenkins returned from preseason back surgery to start two games as a rookie, but he was close to 350 pounds last year. The Chicago blocker is back near his listed 320-pound weight, with Adam Jahns of The Athletic noting Jenkins is checking in around 325. Larry Borom is penciled in to take over for Jason Peters at left tackle.