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Now That Trent Brown Is a Raider, What’s Next for the Patriots?

With Trent Brown now headed to Oakland, who will replace him in New England?

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network broke the news on Monday that offensive tackle Trent Brown had agreed to a deal with the Oakland Raiders for $66 million over four years. This contract makes Brown the highest paid offensive linemen in the NFL, earning $16.5 million per year. Although nothing is technically official until Wednesday at 4:00 pm EST, today marks the beginning of the legal tampering period of free agency in the NFL and Brown is one of the first free agents off the board.

Although it is easy to see how much Brown has improved over the last two seasons, his numbers alone do not look like those of the highest paid tackle in the league.

Brown allowed 33 quarterback pressures in 2018 and was the 32nd ranked tackle according to profootballfocus.com (subscription required). The Raiders are desperate to find someone who is going to be able to protect Derek Carr’s blindside and clearly have a lot of faith in Brown’s ability to step in and play that role.

One thing that I think goes under-appreciated about Brown is his versatility. He was a right tackle for the first three years of his career in San Fransisco and only switched to left tackle after one of New England’s 2018 first round draft picks, Isaiah Wynn, went down in a preseason game last year with a ruptured achilles. Brown really stepped up for the Patriots throughout their Super Bowl run this past season. Brady was virtually untouched over those three postseason games and did not suffer a sack until they played the Rams in Super Bowl LIII but was comfortable throughout the majority of that game.

For New England, it was the right move to let Brown walk if that’s his market value. They will have Wynn coming back from the achilles injury, but I would not expect him to be 100 percent at the start of the 2019 season. The Patriots will probably be in the market for a tackle this offseason who can just act as the bridge between Brown and Wynn while Wynn recovers without the pressure of coming back before he is fully healthy. The rest of the team’s starting offensive line from last season which consisted of David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Joe Thuney, and Marcus Cannon are all expected to be there next season. The Patriots’ offensive line coach, Dante Scarnecchia, is one of the unsung heroes of the team and I am confident he will be able to replace Brown smoothly.

From this point until the start of the 2019 season, all eyes will be on Wynn in Foxboro, and fans will be very anxious to see him come back the same player who was taken 23rd overall in last year’s draft. As long as he does not rush his return and takes his physical therapy seriously, he should be able to come back to the starting lineup at some point in the 2019 season. I expect him to be back in the starting five by week four. For  Brown; good luck in Oakland, and thanks for helping the Patriots win number six.

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