Some quick news and notes on this Friday:
Patriots Waive OT Cajuste
The New England Patriots made a player transaction on Thursday, with offensive lineman Yodney Cajuste being waived by the club.
Cajuste, a former 3rd round pick in 2019, never quite evolved into the long-term building block on the offensive line the Patriots needed. After spending a couple of seasons battling injuries, he was certainly valuable to the club last season after signing his tender last offseason. However, despite a great opportunity to break through as a player, he never quite got there in 2022 after suffering an early season setback thanks to a thumb injury.
With the Patriots experiencing difficulty on the right side of the line for much of the year, and with Isaiah Wynn ending up on the injury report, Cajuste played in 100% of the snaps on offense for three-straight games midseason, stepping in against the Colts (63/63), the Jets (63/63) and Minnesota (55/55).
However, it ended up being Conor McDermott as the player who finished out the season while getting the lion’s share of the snaps as the Patriots managed to play better up front down the stretch despite obviously coming up short by the end of the season.
The move frees up $2.7 million in cap space, and it could signal that the coaches are satisfied with some progress they’ve seen so far from their rookies during the early part of minicamp. If that’s the case, it could be opening the door for someone else to step in should the Patriots not elect to bring Cajuste back at some point later on.
Film on Gonzalez Should Excite Fans
The Patriots posted a quick video of first-round pick Christian Gonzalez getting some work in this week and based on the clip, fans should certainly be excited.
The rookie was explosive, looking smooth and fluid as he dropped into coverage during a drill, showing an impressive change of direction as he finished it off the practice rep by making a leaping grab as he headed back in.
New England has seen a fair amount of growth on defense in recent seasons, but the club has had to lean on Jonathan Jones quite a bit, and his absence two years ago after suffering a season-ending injury was a reminder of how important he is. Last season, Jones returned to form, and the Patriots also added two terrific additions in rookie Jack Jones and Marcus Jones, both of which turned into solid contributors.
If Gonzalez can anchor one side and threaten opponents’ top targets, they’re going to be dangerous. So far, he looks as advertised, and it should be exciting to see where he is by September.
Mac Jones Looks a Little Bulkier
The Patriots released some photos on their site, which showed Mac Jones throwing over simulated offensive linemen while working on his release. Fellow QB Trace McSorely was also featured, with Jones appearing a little stronger and bulkier in the photos the team shared on their website.
Jones had a little fun on his Instagram stories on Thursday, ribbing second-year offensive lineman Cole Strange for what appears to be the offensive lineman donning a mullet here in the spring.
Overall, we’ve already heard several players being quoted mentioning how dialed in Jones has been this offseason, and despite not a lot of media access down there, the hours have clearly been put in down at Gillette Stadium.
Patriots Preseason Schedule Finally Set
While the regular season schedule was released just over a week ago, the preseason schedule for the Patriots had still remained a bit of a question mark heading into this week.
The club had previously announced the final start time earlier this week against the Titans, but the other two games were finalized and announced on Thursday, rounding out the schedule.
The Patriots will open the preseason at home against the Houston Texans on Thursday, August 10th at 7:00pm. They’ll then travel to Green Bay to play the Packers in an 8:00pm game on Saturday, August 19th, followed by the finale in Tennessee on Friday August 25th, at 8:15pm.
You can view the full 2023 Patriots Schedule for all the dates and times for each contest.
Goodell Said Sunday Ticket Move To YouTube Just the “Beginning”
With the NFL now free of its deal with DirecTV, the move to YouTubeTV this offseason came as a breath of fresh air to those who were ready to break away from traditional media as streaming services continue becoming more and more prevalent.
Roger Goodell spoke Wednesday night at YouTube’s “Brandcast” where he talked about building a strong relationship with the NFL’s new content partner.
Goodell said during the event that bringing Sunday Ticket to the platform is “only the beginning,” and that the league appears to be favoring content creators to really delve into it and help increase what’s already a massive following.
While all this sounds good on paper, news did come out this week that one of the Wild Card games next January will be broadcast exclusively on NBC’s “Peacock” streaming service, which has seemingly been lagging behind some of the more popular services.
Some believe that pay-per-view may be coming eventually for some of the league’s biggest contests, which might even include the Super Bowl at some point.
The league is no stranger to trying to push the envelope when it comes to just how far fans will go to consume their product. However, the pushback to the NBC announcement has been pretty strong, so time will certainly tell when it comes to how this one might turn out.
Guregian Leaving Herald for MassLive
One quick media note, Boston Herald writer Karen Guregian has become the latest long-time writer to leave the Boston Herald, with Guregian announcing the move both on Twitter and in a farewell column in the newspaper.
She’s reportedly joining Mark Daniels, Nick O’Malley, and Chris Mason, which rounds out a pretty solid group over there.
Guregian said in her column, which led off with a terrific story about an encounter early in her career at the newspaper with Muhammad Ali, that she’ll not only be continuing to cover and write about the team, but also “supervising and mentoring” some of the young writers, which she said is ,”something I really enjoy doing.”
The Herald has already seen some significant departures in recent years, with Jeff Howe and Steve Buckley among two big names who moved on after joining The Athletic. Andrew Callahan has done a solid job, with Rich Thompson and Steve Conroy still among the names holding things down there as the paper has shed some talent.
As a result, while the Herald suffered a pretty big loss, it sounds like MassLive has gained another great addition. It’s yet another reason why they’re becoming an even more terrific destination for Patriots coverage online, and it’s definitely good to see her staying in the market covering the team.
Patriots add Brother of Jahalani Tavai
Bill Belichick is no stranger when it comes to adding siblings to a roster, and he added one on Thursday.
According to Doug Kyed of A To Z Sports, the club signed undrafted rookie lineman Justus Tavai, who is the brother of linebacker Jahlani Tavai.
Despite a tough start, the third-year player has quietly established himself as a solid player in New England’s defense, and it looks like he may have the chance to spend Sundays this fall playing football with his brother.
That is, of course, provided Justus can work his way onto the roster both for training camp and then ultimately carve out a role for himself somewhere. That road is long, but the fact he’s even created the opportunity certainly speaks volumes.
His addition adds to siblings that have included Devin and Jason McCourty, as well as the Gronkowski brothers (Rob and Dan), along with tight end and receiver Jacob and Cody Hollister.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2023 Patriots Offseason New England Patriots News