Patriots ’20 Questions: What type of impact will Mohamed Sanu have?

Andy Hart and Ryan Hannable
July 02, 2020 - 12:36 pm
Categories: 

The Patriots are in the midst of the most interesting, important offseason in more than two decades. Tom Brady moved on to Tampa Bay. Bill Belichick remains in place with a veteran roster. There are plenty of questions and even more plentiful opinions regarding the defending AFC East champions. Over the next few weeks WEEI.com will ask and offer up answers to 20 of the most critical questions facing the 2020 Patriots.

Today’s question: What can really be expected from Mohamed Sanu?

Listen Live Now on WEEI

Hannable: Sanu is a total wild card for the 2020 season. Clearly, his eight games last season with the Patriots were disappointing, but some of that could be attributed to the ankle injury he dealt with towards the end of the year. The veteran had offseason surgery and based on his social media activity, he looks great in his recovery. This is obviously a good sign.

Another good sign was seeing him already working out with Cam Newton. If the two former NFC South members can find some chemistry, that could be a big development as with defenses focusing on Julian Edelman, that could open things up on the outside for Sanu, which is also where Newton likes to throw. 

On the flip side, Sanu has a cap hit of $6.5 million. It's possible if he doesn't have a great training camp and summer, the team could part ways to save some money since it is right up against the salary cap.

From what we've seen though, we're expecting a bounceback year for Sanu and him making an impact with the Patriots offense in 2020.

Hart: The absolute best-case scenario for Sanu in 2020 is that he returns to his career track record as a relatively solid complementary option. First, he needs to prove he’s health. Sorry, that takes work in the game of football, not with your shirt off on Instagram. Then, he needs to prove he can still get open and…wait for it…catch the football! The latter was a problem at times in New England late last season, which can’t easily be explained away by an ankle injury.

The hard part for Sanu is that for the bulk of his career he’s lined up alongside or opposite an All-Pro talent like A.J. Green or Julio Jones. That guy doesn’t exist in the Patriots offense right now. On the wrong side of 30, in a new offense with limited weapons around him and coming off an injury, Sanu faces a boatload of questions this summer and fall.

In fact, it wouldn’t be stunning to see Sanu get cut before the season even begins, a move that could save the Patriots more than $6 million on the salary cap. The one thing that certainly shouldn’t be expected of Sanu in 2020 is that he’s a top playmaking, game-changing target in New England’s new-look passing attack. He’s never been that. He won’t be that.

Related: NFL Media's Mike Giardi on GHS: Cam Newton will be great test for Jarrett Stidham