Patriots ’20 Questions: Who could be a surprise cut over the summer?

Andy Hart and Ryan Hannable
July 14, 2020 - 2:11 pm

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 will ask and offer up answers to 20 of the most critical questions facing the 2020 Patriots.

Today’s question: Which player could potentially be a surprise cut over the summer?

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Hannable: Given the Patriots have close to $8 million in salary cap space, the team may not have to cut any veterans over the summer to free up money, so this question may not actually have an answer. But, we'll play it through.

While it may not be much of a surprise given he was on the bubble last summer, Deatrich Wise could potentially be let go before the start of the season. The Arkansas product saw his playing time dip towards the end of last season and totaled just 26 tackles and two sacks overall. In addition, there are some younger players on the team who could take over his role as a pass rusher like Chase Winovich and then rookies Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche. Wise has a salary cap hit $2.2 million and is scheduled to be a free agent after the season.

On the other side of the ball, keep a close eye on Mohamed Sanu. While he likely could help the offense this season, is it worth $6.5 million? Could the team get similar production from a player like Marqise Lee or Jakobi Meyers with the cost being much less? That could be a question the team asks itself in a few months.

HartThis is one of those tough questions. Because if it’s a true surprise cut, how could we see it coming two months in advance? And if we are talking about it in mid-July, then is it really that big of a surprise? But, I’ll play along with the game that is always a popular topic this time of year.

The first name that comes to mind for me is veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. He arrived to much fanfare before the trade deadline last fall – remember he was supposed to be the juice and the squeeze – in exchange for a second-round pick. An ankle injury derailed his late season run, as did some ugly drops at bad times. Always a complementary option alongside an All-Pro talent during his career, Sanu is about to turn 31 and coming off surgery. Sure, he looks good in his workouts posted on social media. But he also has a $6.5 million salary that would all be cap savings if he were cut. If Sanu doesn’t look significantly better than he did last fall – or if guys like Marqise Lee and Jakobi Meyers are just flat-out better – the veteran could be looking for work.

Another name on offense I’ll throw out there is Marcus Cannon, although he’s a more likely answer to this question come next offseason. Defensively one somewhat notable name to keep an eye on is Deatrich Wise, although at this point I’m not sure he’d be much of surprise cut. So, Sanu is probably the biggest name whose future in Foxborough might be in more doubt that some people would expect.

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