It goes without saying that the Patriots currently have a large surplus at the tackle position on their offensive line. Funny enough, this strong group is the same group that had plenty of question marks on the first day of free agency when Trent Brown left for Oakland.
With all that being said, with all the Patriots’ additions to their tackle posistions, the loss of Trent Brown now seems somewhat insignificant. This is of course making two key assumptions; Jared Veldheer has the ability to start, and Isaiah Wynn has properly healed from his egregious Achilles injury last August.
Patriots Tackle Outlook
The Patriots currently have Isaiah Wynn, Marcus Cannon, Jared Veldheer, Dan Skipper, Cole Croston, Yondy Cajuste, Calvin Anderson, Cedrick Lang, and Tyree St. Louis all listed at the tackle spot. Their influx of tackles provides a lot of flexibility for coaches Dante Scarnecchia, Josh McDaniels, and de facto GM Bill Belichick.
Coach Scar Has Plenty of Options
Scarnecchia will obviously benefit the most from all these moves, as he will be the closest to these players. Coach Scar will now have to make the decision on where Isaiah Wynn plays this season and decide the roles of Jared Veldheer, Marcus Cannon, Yondy Cajuste.
Expect Cajuste to Be a Sponge This Year
In all likelihood, Yondy Cajuste, the fourth round selection out of West Virginia, will play a LaAdrian Waddle type role and mostly sit back in his first year. Although, he can potentially play the game a lot like Trent Brown did in his one season with the Patriots. Asking him to do what Trent did however, will take time.
…And Then There Were Three
Now, narrowing down the two starters on this line gets tricky. All three players (Wynn, Cannon, and Veldheer) could merit the distinction of being a starter on this team. However, it seems like Isaiah Wynn’s Achilles could answer the whole question.
Assuming Wynn is not completely ready to preform, the answer will be that Marcus Cannon starts at right tackle and Jared Veldheer at left.
Wynn with a healthy Achilles muddies the waters, and could potentially ship Marcus Cannon out of Foxboro.
Why Veldheer’s Job Seems Safe
Simply based off the money he received, it seems very plausible that he should be carved into one of the starting tackle spots. Although the exact details of his contract remain undisclosed, we know that he could earn a max value of 6.5 million dollars this season. Bill Belichick and Nick Casiero do not pay camp bodies, or even backup tackles, 6.5 million dollars. The Patriots must like this guy, therefore, his job seems pretty safe for now. Veldheer also primarily played right tackle for the Cardinals and Broncos. This puts him primarily in competition with Marcus Cannon.
A Healthy Wynn Could Place Cannon on the Trade Block
Remember when the Patriots traded Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers before the season started a few years back? Belichick could make another big trade of an offensive tackle before the season starts this year too.
Cannon just came off one of his better seasons in a while. A season where his health was better than normal, and he was a very solid right tackle last season.
If Coach Scarnecchia decides that Isaiah Wynn is ready to make a big impact in essentially his rookie season, Cannon might be in trouble and sold for his highest value.
Cannon could become obsolete with Wynn, Veldheer, and Cajuste in the picture. And his contract and age might be too hefty for Belichick and the Patriots.
An aging player with a decreasing role and a contract north of 7.4 million dollars each of the next two seasons normally gets floated in trade talks by teams. With Bill Belichick, a hit to Cannon’s role and value on this team will have the Patriots’ GM making phone calls off the hook.
Cannon better hope Wynn does not upstage him, otherwise Cannon may not be blocking for Tom Brady too much longer.
I believe in Wynn’s abilities and so do the Patriots. Thus, Wynn plays left tackle and Jared Veldheer plays right tackle.
Veldheer played right tackle in Arizona and in Denver. With his contract and Wynn impressing like I believe he will, it currently is very hard to see Cannon keeping his job here in New England.
Furthermore, Cannon gets traded for a defensive lineman, safety, or maybe even another target for Brady.
Injuries always happen in training camp and preseason. If a tackle goes down for an extended period of time, expect Belichick to welch off another team’s desperation and get his highest value for Cannon. Assuming he did not already trade him