Yesterday ESPN’s Field Yates reported that linebacker Jerod Mayo was put on the Injured Reserve, shutting down his season for the third consecutive year.
He played in all 16 regular season games this year and recorded 47 tackles while playing in 36.1% of 1,092 total snaps according to sportingcharts.com. Last year while playing in ten less games, he recorded six more total tackles, and two years ago, he recorded 55 tackles, but again only played in six games.
There is no doubt that he can produce but all of these numbers beg the question of his durability.
He hasn’t been able to finish a season in the last three campaigns and although you can’t put that blame on him, it is disconcerting to throw a ton of money at a guy who can’t stay healthy throughout 16 plus games.
Despite being a defensive captain and huge body in the middle of the trenches in the run defense, it is unlikely the Patriots will bring him back for another contract.
The biggest reason as to why the front office won’t retain him is due to his $11.4 million cap hit coming next year.
There are bigger names to retain before a glass linebacker including the two linebackers in front of him, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins, whose contracts are up after 2017 along with Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones and Matthew Slater, just to name a few.
Jonathan Freeny will likely retake his role that he assumed at the beginning of the season over Mayo. He finished playing 35.6% of his snaps (right behind Mayo) in only 13 games and recorded 50 total tackles.
He posted his season high with seven total tackles and it came November 29th against guess who, the Denver Broncos.
Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones also sustained injuries against Kansas City and their statuses are still a little foggy. Obviously, Bill won’t show his hand this early in the week regardless, but if they can even kind of go, neither of them are going to want to sit out.
Especially after the week that Jones had last week, leading up to his best game of his career from his perspective, he will surely want to build on that performance and ball out once again in Denver.
There is no doubt that the “next man up” mentality will take over and Bill and Matt will get the best 11 out there per usual, pledging that everyone will do their job, stick to their responsibilities and punch their ticket to Santa Clara for the Super Bowl.
By Cole McNanna