FOXBORO, MASS. — The New England Patriots on Thursday made their acquisitions of Korey Cunningham and Jermaine Eluemunor official, meaning Bill Belichick actually could talk about the two offensive linemen before kickoff with New York Giants.
In case you missed it, the Patriots acquired Cunningham and Eluemunor in trades with the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens, respectively. New England sent a sixth-round pick for Cunningham, but parted with a fourth-round pick to land Eluemunor, as well as a sixth-round pick. It’s way too early to know how good either player is, or how the Patriots truly plan to use them, but the price for Eluemunor suggests the Patriots expect big things from the former Raven.
While both trades were made with the knowledge that starting center David Andrews could miss the entire 2019 season, neither Cunningham nor Eluemunor is expected to see time at that position.
“I don’t think either one of these guys plays center,” Belichick said Thursday night while speaking with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Scott Zolak.
Although there’s still time for things to change at center, New England’s offensive line largely is set: Isaiah Wynn at left tackle, Joe Thuney at left guard, Ted Karras at center, Shaq Mason at right guard and Marcus Cannon at right tackle. Thus, Cunningham and Eluemunor will provide depth on the offensive line, likely at the expense of journeyman/training camp Cinderella Dan Skipper.
However, neither Skipper nor the two newest Patriots would be in the positions they’re in had veterans Jared Veldheer and Brian Schwenke not retired during the offseason.
“We lost two guys that probably would have made our roster — Veldheer and Schwenke, they both retired early — and then, you know, we just felt like this was a good opportunity with Cunningham and Eluemunor to improve the depth on our team, and we’ve done quite a bit of work on those players.
“Just think that they’re good, young players to work with.”
Of course, many Patriots fans will point to the successes of Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and assert that New England once again has found diamonds in the rough. And that’s fair, as Scarnecchia probably is the best O-line coach in the game, one who just paved the way for Trent Brown to land the richest contract for an offensive lineman in NFL history.
Considering both Cunningham and Eluemunor will have been with the Patriots for just 11 days before the Sept. 8 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, it would be surprising if either sees the field anytime soon. But given New England’s track record, you probably can bank on both players being ready if and when they’re called upon.