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Tuesday Patriots Notebook 8/15: News and Notes

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
4 months ago at 11:18 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Tuesday Patriots Notebook 8/15: News and NotesEric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Some news and notes for this morning:

Gesicki Suffers Injury Monday

With the Patriots already fairly thin at the tight end position, it appears they may have just suffered their first significant injury of the preseason after tight end Mike Gesicki went down with a shoulder injury on Monday.

According to reports, the injury happened during a one-on-one tackling drill against linebacker Jahlani Tavai.  Gesicki went down after contact and was favoring his right side, with New England Patriots head trainer Jim Whalen immediately coming over before the two eventually headed back to the locker room and Gesicki didn’t return.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Gesicki suffered a dislocated shoulder, but the hope is that he’ll be back ahead of Week 1 when the Patriots open the season at Gillette Stadium against Philadelphia.

“TE Mike Gesicki, who has been impressive early on in camp, suffered a mild dislocated shoulder during yesterday’s practice, source said,” Rapoport posted on X (formerly Twitter).  “While nothing is given, the hope is he’s back for Week 1 despite the AC joint injury.”

Thanks to this news, the Patriots suddenly have an even bigger sense of urgency when it comes to this position.  Given that their offense was supposed to revolve a little more around what they could do out of a two tight end set, this is certainly a big setback that will remain something to watch heading into the season.

What Does Gesicki’s Injury Mean For the Patriots Offense?

With Gesicki sidelined, it’s certainly a big blow to a group that didn’t exactly have much margin for error.

They’re fairly devoid of any real talent behind Geskicki and Hunter Henry.  Things fall off pretty drastically after that, with Matt Sokol, Anthony Firkser, Scotty Washington, and Johnny Lumpkin rounding things out on the depth chart.

Sokol saw the lion’s share of playing time from that group Thursday night against Houston, playing 23 snaps while hauling in one pass on two targets for 4-yards.

From there, Firkser had 16 snaps, while both Washington and Lumpkin had 9.  Washington was the only other player in this group targeted, catching one pass for 11-yards, which came from Malik Cunningham during the club’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive.

But NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry talked a little about what this means for the Patriots, and it’s absolutely going to have a big impact on what they do moving forward this preseason given what they’ve been working on in camp, especially down in the red zone.

“I don’t know how long he’s going to be out just yet,” said Perry Monday night.  “But this did look like, based on what we’ve seen in training camp, an offense that was going to be built in some ways around that 12 personnel package, especially in the red zone where they were worst in the league last year.”

“This is a big target with a lot of athleticism who in the last couple of weeks has made some really impressive plays.  He had two one-handed catches that were some of the best catches in camp in the span of three days about a week ago.  So he was starting to come on and now it looks like everything is put on pause when it comes to Gesicki.”

They pointed out later in the broadcast that should Gesicki find himself in any type of harness to give him some stability, it’s going to affect his catch radius and a lot of things that make him such a dynamic player.

Needless to say, this was something they certainly didn’t need, and it’s yet another hurdle they’re going to need to overcome heading into the season.

RB Elliot Joins Patriots

The other big news on Monday was the signing of Ezekiel Elliott, with the former Dallas Cowboys running back agreeing to terms with the Patriots.

The deal is reportedly for one year with a $3 million base salary with incentives that could make it worth up to $6 million.

His signing was interesting because it came just hours before Dalvin Cook agreed to a deal with the Jets, with his deal reportedly worth $8.6 million.

It makes you wonder if the Patriots were still potentially in on Cook, with money possibly being an issue before New England instead decided to pull the trigger with Elliott.

If that’s the case, the decision does make sense.  You could make the argument that Rhamondre Stevenson is a much younger version of Cook, and paying him what the Jets did would have set a higher bar salary-wise for the club when the time comes to extend Stevenson.

Instead, they have a player in Elliott who, at his age (he’s 28), arrives at a point where he can be a perfect complement behind Stevenson at a significantly lower price tag.

Some may remember that when Elliott previously visited the Patriots, he and Mac Jones were spotted out to dinner after the visit, so it’s clear there’s already a little bit of a comfort level ahead of him now being on the roster.

Elliott will reportedly get right to work, with reports indicating that he’s expected to participate in the joint practices coming up for the Patriots in Green Bay this week, which will begin on Wednesday morning.

McMillan Extended

The Patriots continue trying to stack depth at linebacker, and despite being on injured reserve, they took a step to make sure they keep one in the fold for at least another season.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots have extended linebacker Raekwon McMillan through 2024, giving him a one-year contract worth up to $2.245 million.

McMillan saw a fair amount of time last season, playing in all but one contest (Week 3 vs Ravens).  He started off 2022 playing 70% of the defensive snaps in the opener against Miami, before his role was reduced from there and he averaged 20% to 30% of the snaps through the rest of the season.

This is the second time the Patriots made a move to keep McMillan in the fold following an injury, with the veteran linebacker suffering a torn ACL in 2021 before the club gave him another one-year deal.

Posted Under: Patriots News

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