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New England Patriots Place LB Jerod Mayo on the Injured Reserve

The New England Patriots string of injuries won't stop. Per ESPN's Field Yates, the Patriots have placed linebacker Jerod Mayo on the injure reserve, ending his season and possibly his tenure in New England. Mayo suffered a shoulder injury against the Chiefs

Mayo was playing as the team's third linebacker behind Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower this season, after finishing the past two years on the injured reserve. Mayo actually fell behind back-up Jonathan Freeny earlier in the season, but a hand injury to the latter led to Mayo's resurgence.

The Patriots captain is due a major contract bonus of $4 million on the first day of the 2016 league year and would present a monster cap hit of $11.4 million. Barring an unexpected restructure of his contract, New England will likely decline to pick up his option. If Mayo signs with another team, the Patriots would be eligible to recuperate a compensatory pick.

It's also very possible that no team will sign Mayo as he goes through his recovery, and he could join the Patriots in the offseason on a cheap veteran contract. Mayo is the third team captain to be placed on the injured reserve, along with offensive linemen Nate Solder and Ryan Wendell.

The Patriots need to sign Collins and Hightower to extensions, which is why Mayo's cap hit is untenable. Freeny will likely ascend back to the team's #3 linebacker for the rest of the post season.