Perhaps that’s because Wynn’s stock around the league isn’t high, and some consider him “unreliable.” In a recent breakdown of the Patriots’ position groups, The Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard called Wynn “one of the most unreliable players on the roster.”
If you subscribe to the adage that the best ability is availability, then there aren’t much worse labels to receive. Unreliable is probably the worst label to get in football or any walk of life.
Why Has Isaiah Wynn Been Labeled “Unreliable?”
A fair evaluation of Wynn must include consideration of the details. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick selected Wynn 23rd overall in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Any player selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft is expected to turn into a star or at least a steady contributor in the starting lineup.
You could argue that Wynn has been the latter, but no objective, qualified or sensible performance evaluator would call the 26-year-old a star. Wynn has been a starter for the Patriots for the better part of the last two seasons.
However, durability has been a concern. He missed his entire rookie season in 2018 and didn’t make it on the field until 2019, when he played in and started 8 games. In 2020, a season severely impacted by the global pandemic, Wynn played in and started 10 games.
In 2021, Wynn only missed one game, starting 15 times. Per Pro Football Reference, he had an Approximate Value rating of 9, which was the highest of his career. When calling Wynn “unreliable,” it has to be connected to the games he’s missed and his failure to develop into a difference-making offensive tackle.
What Would an Acceptable Trade Offer Look Like for Isaiah Wynn?
The Patriots have been trying to create some financial wiggle room as they are one of the teams against it regarding salary cap space. The Patriots re-worked Jonnu Smith’s contract on Friday to create almost $5.5 million in cap room for the upcoming season.
Wynn is a fifth-year veteran who is eligible for an extension. Wynn was absent for the early portion of training camp, and there were questions about whether his absence was due to an injury or a low-key holdout for a new deal.
All of it points to a player who was probably made available on the trade market. The Patriots didn’t move Wynn, but you’d have to believe that if a team offered New England a fourth or fifth-round pick, or perhaps a sixth and a seventh, they would strongly consider it.
Can the Patriots Afford to Trade Wynn?
New England doesn’t have excellent depth at all offensive line positions, but if Wynn was traded, chances are third-year player Michael Onwenu could replace him. After a standout rookie season in 2020, Onwenu has proven he has the ability to move from guard to tackle if needed.
That would likely be a younger and less-expensive way to move forward with the big guys upfront charged with protecting Mac Jones.