Offensively, already riddled with ailments, the Patriots lost Matt LaCosse temporarily to a knee injury, though he did return But it was a knee injury to Josh Gordon that looked scary and nearly cost the Patriots the game.
On a fumble recovery touchdown by the Giants, Gordon went to make a tackle but was knocked back by teammate Ryan Izzo. Gordon, who had been limited in practice for two weeks with a knee injury, had his knee bend awkwardly under him as he fell to the ground.
Gordon clutched his knee and was helped off the field. Initially fearing the worst, Gordon remained on the sidelines for the duration of the game riding a stationary bike and going through sprints and other drills and was never officially ruled out of the game.
The Patriots are already minus Phillip Dorsett and Rex Burkhead with minor injuries, but losing their prime deep threat Josh Gordon for any period of time would hurt way worse than last year. New England’s offensive line, unlike last year, has been hit by injuries this year and has shown an inability to run block effectively, especially up the middle.
New England may have to rethink things offensively, and that could involve a trade for one of the top receivers in the league.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Too Much Stuff, Not Enough Cap Space
If the Patriots were to make a trade, they would somehow have to free up enough salary cap space to make it work. The Patriots currently have about $3.7 million in cap space available for the current season. In order to make a trade work with a veteran receiver, New England would have to offload someone’s contract.
One idea that’s been tossed around is trading Michael Bennett. The veteran pass rusher has seen his snap count diminish this season, including just 11 total snaps against the Giants. Eight of those plays came after New England took a three-possession lead.
Obviously, the Patriots defense is deep but to have a $3 million a year guy on the bench seems wasteful. If the Patriots were to include Bennett in a trade, they could afford the likes of Emmanuel Sanders. But if New England opts to keep Bennett, it would mean players like Mohamed Sanu as the likely trade target.
Is It Too Early to Panic?
It’s only Week 6, and despite being 6-0 there’s a ton of pessimism surrounding the rest of the season for New England. Yes, there has been a ton of injuries already, but it’s still early in the season and all their injuries, fortunately, have been minor.
Dorsett isn’t expected to be long-term, listed as week-to-week. Burkhead practicing, albeit in a limited capacity, signals he is closing in on a return and may have played if New England had a game on Sunday. The severity of Gordon’s injury is unknown, though it didn’t appear too costly given his constant peddling on the exercise bike.
And besides, the Patriots have yet to have the services of first-round pick N’Keal Harry who remains on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Harry is eligible to return in Week 8, right as the Patriots schedule starts to get tough. Having Harry back will boost the offense tremendously, as teams may not be able to properly prepare for his versatility and strength in route running.
So while the outlook currently is bleak, it won’t remain this way for the season.