The New England Patriots made an under-the-radar trade earlier this week by sending backup offensive tackle Justin Herron to the Las Vegas Raiders.
It’s a move that is somewhat puzzling on the surface with the Patriots losing offensive line depth in the deal in exchange for a measly 2024 sixth-round pick. New England also gave up a 2024 seventh-round pick in the trade.
But it seems Bill Belichick’s confidence in Marcus Cannon made doing the deal worthwhile. The Patriots reunited with the veteran offensive tackle just prior to the season opener against the Miami Dolphins by signing him to the practice squad.
And ever since then, Cannon, who spent the first nine seasons of his NFL career in New England after being drafted in the fifth round in 2011, has impressed his head coach and even earned practice player of the week honors, showing signs Cannon might be on his way to contributing to the Patriots this season very soon.
“Marcus has had a great attitude,” Belichick told reporters Friday. “Comes in, works really hard. Just wants to do it the right way. Not come in and jump in but come in and start at the beginning. Work on his fundamentals, work on the lifting, all the preparation things that go into being a good football player. You start at the bottom, work his way up. That’s really the way to do it is build a good foundation.
“Didn’t have training camp but he can use the time that he has now to put that in place. So when he does play, he’ll be, I think, able to hit a higher ceiling than trying to skip all those steps and just start playing. He has a great attitude, had a good week of practice, was impressive out there. So he’s good.”
With Cannon building up his conditioning, he could be in the mix to carve out a role, even as soon as Sunday’s Week 3 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, in the near future. The Patriots don’t have much at the tackle spot behind starters Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn with Yodny Cajuste the only one behind the two on the depth chart. And Wynn’s standing with the team seems a little shaky after the Patriots reportedly tried to trade the 2018 first-round pick.
Cannon primarily played right tackle during his elongated first stint with New England and started in 69 out of the 115 games he appeared in. The familiarity, reliability and possibly stability he could bring to the line to protect second-year quarterback Mac Jones could be a boost for the Patriots that shouldn’t go unnoticed.