The Patriots on Tuesday were dealt bad news, and they could be in for a harsh reality if action isn’t taken soon.

Cole Strange is expected to miss the start of the season and could be out until the middle of the season, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. That puts the New England offensive lineman on the likely path to the physical unable to perform list.

Sidy Sow and Nick Leverett lined up at guard on the first day of OTAs this week, and the second group featured rookie Layden Robinson. That’s not a very inspiring group, and executive vice president of player personnel Eliot Wolf must be on the phones to find depth at offensive line.

There still are solid options available in free agency with former Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner leading the list. Other veterans like Mark Glowinski also could be an option for a young group.

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Left tackle also remains a concern. Head coach Jerod Mayo seems confident in Chukwuma Okorafor and third-round pick Caedan Wallace, but the Strange injury highlights why depth is key.

It’s unlikely the trade market will be an option for New England since it shouldn’t be in the market to give up assets for what likely will be a mediocre player. The Patriots still have plenty of cap space to spend this season before it carries over into the next free agency cycle. And while they aren’t contending for a Super Bowl this season, it’s paramount that Drake Maye succeeds in his rookie season. A solid offensive line protecting the first-round pick will be a solid foundation for that goal.

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