Do The Patriots Have A Adequate Replacement At Tackle On The 2022 Roster?

August 25, 2022
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Rumors are swirling around Isaiah Wynn’s future with the Patriots. But does the team have a viable backup plan if they swing a deal?

Wynn is worth the cap hit of ten million dollars from his fifth-year option because there is no confirmed successor to the throne (forgive my shameless House of The Dragon plug) to come in and provide similar production. So it’s a move that the Patriots’ front office could potentially work out, and we can go over what would happen if they did move on, but I don’t expect this to happen.

Theoretically, this is how the Patriots could handle the offensive line if Wynn leaves; they could promote from the tackle group, shift around personnel, or add outside talent. However, if they aren’t prepared to do anything above, trading Isaiah is a bad idea.

Which Patriots Tackle Who Step Up?

Most reports from this preseason say that Yodny Cajuste has played well in place of an injured Wynn. Cajuste has been able to contain a rejuvenated Patriots pass rush thus far. He is still shaking off the rust in live game action, but he has impressed even Bill Belichick.

“This is the best camp he’s had,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said last week. “He’s been very competitive and worked hard in the offseason and is in good condition. We’ll see how things turn out here, but it’s good to have him back out there.”

Bill Belichick Pats Pulpit

Talent has never been Yodny’s issue coming out of West Virginia in the third round of the 2019 draft; injuries slowed him down in college and the NFL. This could be the year he is fully healthy and stays that way. He’s six-foot-five, 315 pounds, and he says he is ready to show himself & fans what he’s capable off. If he can step into the RT position, it would be easier to trade Wynn, but with a new system, two untrusted Coaches, and a second-year quarterback, is it worth the risk?

The Patriots Could Reshuffle The Offensive Line

The Patriots want to keep Michael Onwenu on the interior offensive line, which is one of the reasons they traded Shaq Mason. However, if they do trade Wynn protecting the edges would be more critical this year so that he could shift to RT and keep Cajuste as a swing tackle or third tight end in heavy formations. This would require playing either James Ferentz, who hasn’t had a great camp, or, one of the rookies we brought in, at right guard.

A couple of options that stand out were Arlington Hambright or two-way player Bill Murray; both have shown the grit needed to play offensive line. Hambright is especially good with his hands sticking defenders up and stopping the momentum. Murray has that nasty streak that skill positions players love to see on their side. Still, neither player has any real experience, which is scary regardless of which OL position is being played. However, it is less stressful to play in between Mike Onwenu and David Andrews than to be alone on the outside.

There is an outside chance that Chasen Hines, Andrew Stueber, or Kody Russey will impact this move, but I don’t believe they have had much playing time. Hopefully, they will contribute. If not this year, then maybe next.

Could The Patriots Sign An Outside Offensive Lineman

The two viable options I found were Eric Fisher (LT) and Bobby Massie. Fisher had a solid run-blocking season last year with the Colts coming off a torn Achilles, which he is now two years removed from. He could step into either side and provide stability, consistency, and leadership. With Shaq gone, Andrews is the only true leader on the line. Adding Fisher would give another brilliant, veteran presence. Eric is still a good tackle and wouldn’t require breaking the bank to sign him because of his age and previous injury.

Bobby Massie has been a longstanding pro that has played over 131 games. If the Patriots trade Wynn, they need to bring in someone who can learn quickly. At this point in their careers, Massie might be a better pass protector than Fisher, but Fisher has the higher ceiling if he is truly healthy.

Conclusion

The Patriots may need to use another first-round pick on a tackle in the 2023 NFL draft, even if they don’t trade Wynn. However, if New England did make this move, I think the best idea would be to try Yodny at right tackle, and if that doesn’t work, bring in an Eric Fisher to keep the organization’s future safe. Isaiah Wynn has his issues, but he is the team’s best option, even at that cap hit.


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