New England Patriots

The Patriots’ much-ballyhooed Malcolm Mitchell deadline passes at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. But despite still having time to activate him off injured reserve, the team won’t do so.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted on Tuesday at 2:51 p.m. that the Pats won’t activate Mitchell off IR before Wednesday’s 4:00 deadline. That means that the second-year receiver is officially done for the rest of the season. Bill Belichick confirmed as much during his Wednesday press conference.

The news doesn’t come as much of a shock, considering that Mitchell did not practice on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. He ends up missing the entire 2017 season with a knee injury.

Malcolm Mitchell deadline Passes For Patriots

Malcolm Mitchell of the New England Patriots is tackled by Jalen Collins of the Atlanta Falcons after a catch in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Malcolm Mitchell Deadline To Pass: Now What?

The Patriots should be OK at receiver without Mitchell moving forward, barring any further injuries. That’s despite the group having perhaps their toughest test of the season coming in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Chris Hogan returned in the Patriots’ AFC Divisional Playoff win over the Titans. He caught just one of four targets, but it was a four-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady. But more importantly, Danny Amendola re-emerged on Sunday as a trusted target for Brady and a big-time threat in the playoffs. He caught 11 of 13 targets for 112 yards in the win.

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Brandin Cooks was essentially a non-factor against the Titans. But the speedster could still burn the Jags for a big play at any moment if their All-Pro corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye aren’t careful on Sunday.

Unfortunately for Mitchell, knee injuries continue to plague him. He’s dealt with knee ailments going back to his days at the University of Georgia. But in any event, the Patriots needed to figure out how to score without him all season. So on the field, nothing changes.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.