New England Patriots

  • Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams (33) runs the ball after intercepting a pass against the Washington Football Team during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams (33) runs the ball after intercepting a pass against the Washington Football Team during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    Joejuan Williams has likely played his final game in a New England Patriots uniform.

    According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Williams has suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, ostensibly late in the Patriots’ preseason win over the New York Giants last Thursday. A former second-round selection of the Patriots in the 2019 NFL Draft, Williams has struggled to catch on and looked like a long shot to make the team as he entered the final year of his rookie deal.

    Williams is now likely to go on season-ending injured reserve (update: Mike Reiss reported that Williams has been placed on IR). Since he’s on track to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, it’s possible he could negotiate an injury settlement, so he can be granted his release and explore the open market.

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  • Williams, 24, has not lacked opportunities to carve out a role in the Patriots’ secondary. He’s always had the best height and length of any defensive back on the roster (6-foot-3), and injuries to Stephon Gilmore over the past two seasons opened up important spots. Instead, J.C. Jackson rose from undrafted free agent to the No. 1 guy, and 2021 free-agent addition Jalen Mills blew by Williams on the depth chart.

    The Patriots are even trying Jonathan Jones a lot at outside corner in recent camp practices, after off-season signing Terrance Mitchell got off to a hot start. That could possibly be part of the team’s preparation for the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, when they’ll have to deal with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on the field at the same time.

  • But this is a long way of saying that, even if Williams stayed healthy, he didn’t look or feel like he was going to factor into the cornerback equation in any meaningful way.

    Elsewhere at cornerback, Malcolm Butler was absent from Monday’s training camp practice in Foxboro, but it’s unclear whether he’s dealing with a notable injury or he got a kind of veteran’s day off.

    Jul 30, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams (33) covers wide receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey (83) at the Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Jul 30, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Joejuan Williams (33) covers wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey (83) at the Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

  • By our count, the Patriots are now down to 85 players on their roster, a number they had to get to on Tuesday. They’ll now take the field Tuesday morning for the first of two joint practices with the Carolina Panthers, with their second preseason game coming on Friday night.

    We’ll be sure to keep you covered throughout the practices, including live updates on Twitter for a portion of the proceedings, and all kinds of post-practice coverage. Click here for all Patriots training camp coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

  • Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.