New England Patriots

Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; A New England Patriots helmet rest on the sidelines during the first quarter of the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots’ struggles along the offensive line to start the year have been well-documented. Now, it looks like that group has a new issue to deal with – COVID.

As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots have placed starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn and starting left guard Michael Onwenu on the COVID reserve list. Unlike regular IR, which mandates players miss at least three weeks, returning from COVID IR is dependent on negative tests and vaccination status.

Players can be placed on the COVID reserve following a positive test, but also close contact with a positive player if they are not vaccinated. Wynn and Onwenu’s vaccination status is unknown.

If Wynn and/or Onwenu can’t get cleared in time for Sunday’s game in Houston, the team does have options to replace them. Yodny Cajuste filled in when Wynn missed time towards the end of training camp, but the team has also seemed committed to finding playing time for swing tackle Justin Herron. Herron started at right tackle last week as Trent Brown missed his third straight game. At guard, Ted Karras would likely step in for Onwenu, as he did last week against Tampa.

This is the second straight year the Patriots have dealt with COVID issues early on in the season. After getting off to a 2-1 start last year, they had three games impacted by a COVID outbreak, with their bye week being moved up to accommodate the cases.

MORE: Patriots Recap Podcast

Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.