FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have placed starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn on injured reserve with a toe injury, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates, but he could return later in the season.
A player placed on injured reserve during the season can’t practice for six weeks and isn’t eligible to play in a game for eight weeks. So that means the earliest Wynn could play is Nov. 17 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The loss of Wynn is yet another blow to The Patriots’ offensive line, which has dealt with a string of injuries and retirements since the spring. Wynn’s injury, which appeared to occur late in the first quarter of Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins, knocking him out of the game, is not expected to keep him out all year.
“Isaiah’s been playing good, solid football, and we’ll see how all of that plays out moving forward,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said earlier Tuesday.
Wynn, a 2018 first-round draft choice out of the University of Georgia, missed his rookie season with a torn Achilles. The Patriots might now be forced to move starting left guard Joe Thuney to left tackle, where he worked in spring practices and early in training camp as Wynn was brought back slowly from the Achilles injury.
“Joe’s our most versatile lineman on the team,” coach Bill Belichick said. “So that is an important role for us to have in terms of maintaining our depth with the group.”
Another option is sticking with nine-year veteran Marshall Newhouse, who had just signed with the team last Wednesday. When Wynn left Sunday’s game, Newhouse took his spot.
The Patriots signed free-agent offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch on Tuesday to further build their depth at tackle.
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Benenoch entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016 and has played in 35 games (22 starts). He joins starting right tackle Marcus Cannon (recovering from a shoulder injury) and second-year player Korey Cunningham on the offensive tackle depth chart.
The Patriots have been scrambling to plug holes along the offensive line going back to the spring, starting when veteran Jared Veldheer — who projected as the top backup tackle — announced his retirement. Then, at the start of training camp, veteran guard Brian Schwenke retired.
Also, 2019 third-round pick Yodny Cajuste — an offensive tackle from West Virginia — has opened the year on the non-football injury list, and starting center David Andrews was placed on season-ending injured reserve due to blood clots in his lungs.
Belichick previously noted how the retirements of Veldheer and Schwenke were the catalyst for making three trades for offensive linemen at the end of the preseason, with the team giving up a fourth-round pick for guard Jermaine Eluemunor and sixth-round picks for center Russell Bodine (not currently on the team) and Cunningham.
The Patriots’ offensive line coach, Dante Scarnecchia, was lauded by McDaniels for helping everything come together despite all the injuries and roster additions.
“Dante does it as good, or better, than anybody else,” McDaniels said. “We’ve got some new guys that haven’t spent a lot of time in the building, and Dante and [assistant] Carmen Bricillo have done a great job of getting these guys caught up and ready to play.”