New England Patriots add tackle depth in player-for-player trade
The few days between the end of the preseason and roster cutdown deadline are the busiest time of year for trades in the NFL. On Sunday morning, the Patriots joined in on that tradition.
As first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots have acquired offensive tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr. from the Cleveland Browns. In exchange, the Patriots will send running back Pierre Strong to Cleveland.
Wheatley, the son of former NFL running back Tyrone Wheatley, was undrafted out of Stony Brook in 2020, after playing his first three college seasons at Michigan. A college tight end, he joined The Spring League in 2021 and converted to offensive tackle. That fall he signed with the Chicago Bears, spending the season on the practice squad. He then spent last summer with the Las Vegas Raiders before getting cut, and was signed to the Browns’ practice squad in the fall.
Through two seasons, Wheatley, 26, has yet to appear in a regular season NFL game. In preseason games, he has played both left and right tackle. At 6-foot-6, 320 pounds he should be able to help bolster the Patriots’ tackle depth, which has been an issue this summer.
Wheatley, who originally was a tight end at Stony Brook, had a solid preseason for the Browns. Allowed three quarterback pressures on 62 pass-blocking snaps and posted very good run-blocking grades via @PFF. pic.twitter.com/0EZqzzPCKt— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) August 27, 2023
The primary tackles currently on the Patriots’ roster are Trent Brown, Andrew Stueber, Riley Reiff (who has spent most of the summer playing guard), Conor McDermott (who hasn’t practiced for two weeks due to injury), and Calvin Anderson (who is currently on NFI). The Patriots also have a couple of guards who can play tackle if needed, such as Mike Onwenu and Sidy Sow, who has spent most of the summer at right tackle after playing guard for four years in college.
As for Strong, he gets traded just a year after the Patriots took him in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. A speed back who ran the fastest 40-yard-dash at that year’s Combine, Strong was viewed as a piece of the new style of offense being installed by Matt Patricia for the 2022 season. However his opportunities ended up being limited and he carried the ball just 10 time in 15 games as a rookie, played a total of 51 snaps.
Given where and how recently he was drafted, Strong seemed due to make the Patriots’ roster. Instead, his departure should open up a spot for Ty Montgomery, J.J. Taylor, and/or Kevin Harris, all who may have been on the outside of the bubble looking in prior to this trade.
This being a player-for-player swap, the Patriots still have 86 players on their active roster. They’ll need to cut down to 53 by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Tracking the Patriots’ roster moves…
2023 New England Patriots roster cut-down tracker
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.