Key players expected to return for Patriots Minicamp this week
For the last two weeks, the Patriots have been holding OTA practices at Gillette Stadium as their offseason workout program ramps up. They’ll begin the next step on Tuesday, with the three-day Mandatory Minicamp beginning on Tuesday.
The key difference between OTAs and Minicamp is the attendance. Both periods feature non-padded practices that are often referred to as “teaching periods” by Bill Belichick, but – as suggested by the name – the three Mandatory Minicamp practices are the only three for which the players are required to be present (although some players may have OTA attendance benchmarks or bonus). That makes Minicamp the first look at the complete team, and the best chance before training camp to get an idea of what things will look like for the 2022 season.
Of the six OTAs that the team has held so far, two were open to the media. Between those two practices, all but seven players participated to some extent. Those not spotted were wide receiver N’Keal Harry, offensive linemen Isaiah Wynn, Chasen Hines, and Andrew Stueber, defensive lineman Byron Cowart, linebacker Matthew Judon, and kicker Quinn Nordin.
Just because players are not spotted on the practice field does not mean they were not taking part in the offseason workouts entirely (they may be elsewhere in the facility during practice) but it was confirmed Harry, Wynn, and Judon were not in Foxborough. However, all three are expected to be in attendance this week according to reports from Doug Kyed of PFF, Jeff Howe of The Athletic, and Mike Giardi of NFL Network.
This upcoming season will be a big one for both Wynn and Judon, although for different reasons. Wynn is in a contract year, and is set to become a free agent for the first time next spring. Meanwhile, Judon will look to bounce back from a rough finish to the 2021 season after playing at an elite level for the first three months.
As for Harry, his standing on the roster is much less clear – as has been the case since his agent requested a trade around this time last year. A first-round pick in 2019, Harry has struggled to produce in three NFL seasons and is now in his final year under contract with the Patriots. ESPN’s Mike Reiss suggested in his Sunday notes column this week that Harry “is now a long shot to make the roster” given the wide receiver talent added by the Patriots this offseason, and his best bet to make the roster may be through a position change to tight end.
Mandatory Minicamp runs from Tuesday to Thursday this week. The team is then scheduled to hold two more OTA practices on June 13 and 14 before departing for their summer break before training camp.