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Week 1 Patriots vs Texans: Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon expected to be ready to play on opening day

The veteran will likely be back on the field soon.

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After the New England Patriots had to play the majority of their 2017 season without starting right tackle Marcus Cannon, the veteran experienced another setback in his quest to return earlier this offseason. He left the team’s training camp practice on August 1 with an undisclosed injury and subsequently missed three weeks worth of practice before returning earlier this week.

His return was a good sign for his availability for the regular season – and it looks as if the veteran will be ready, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe:

Starting right tackle Marcus Cannon is expected to be cleared to play in Week 1 against the Texans, per source. Huge boost after he missed the preseason with a leg injury.

Cannon’s readiness could have an impact elsewhere on the roster. Waddle becomes the swing tackle. If they want, Pats could choose to sacrifice another tackle in order to now keep Jason McCourty or Keion Crossen.

Entering the second season of the five-year, $32.5 million contract extension he signed in 2016, the 30-year old hits the team’s salary cap with $5.77 million – a hefty number but one reflective of Cannon’s status as a clock to make the roster as Tom Brady’s right side protector. As has been the case throughout his career, the main question with Cannon is his health. He missed games because of injury in five of his seven seasons in the NFL.

When healthy, however, he will likely do what he has done since becoming the team’s starting right tackle two seasons ago: be a physical presence on the right end of the offensive line, that has a proven track record as both a road grader in the running game, and a reliable protector in the passing game. With the unit having lost Nate Solder in free agency, his veteran presence and experience will also be crucial.