After a 41-25 drumming of the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots went into their bye week and traded one of their best defensive players in Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a conditional draft pick. While the move was mysterious, it was quite apparent the Patriots were not going to pay Malcolm Butler, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins after the end of this season. The departure of Jamie Collins puzzled fans and players alike, but Bill Belichick usually gets these moves right.
Furthermore, the Patriots have a multitude of depth at pass rusher, including Chris Long, Rob Ninkovich, Trey Flowers and Jabaal Sheard, just to name a few. However, late last night Jabaal Sheard sent out a snapchat from his personal account at the Celtics' Friday night matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Harmless, right?
The New England Patriots boarded a flight to the Bay Area for their Sunday afternoon bout with the San Francisco 49ers earlier that day. At first, it was unclear if Jabaal Sheard was injured, or perhaps meeting up with the team on Saturday.
Unfortunately, according to multiple media outlets now, the Patriots have decided to leave Sheard in New England as they make their cross-country trek to California. Furthermore, it appears as if Sheard is injury-free and simply a healthy scratch.
For those covering the team, this is a bit of a surprise, as Sheard was thought to be one of the cornerstone players on the defensive side of the football. However, in the past couple of weeks, Sheard has seen a decrease in playing time. Most notably, last week against the Seattle Seahawks, Sheard only played 16 snaps. It appears as if Trey Flowers has taken over the starting duty at defensive end.
Similar to Jamie Collins, Jabaal Sheard was not having his best season. On a team that desperately needs players that can get to the quarterback, Sheard simply has not performed.
On the season, prior to last week, Sheard was on the field for 69% of the defensive snaps, but only amassed 18 tackles and 3.5 sacks on the season.
The good news is the Patriots do not need Jabaal Sheard to win their upcoming game this Sunday afternoon. Colin Kapernick, while allusive, will make mistakes and eventually cost the 49ers the game.
Hopefully this move ignites a fire under Sheard, as the Patriots are desperately looking for a few skilled players to rush the quarterback as they look to gear up for another Super Bowl run and Sheard himself is looking for a new lucrative contract.