The New England Patriots are currently in the middle of preparing for their upcoming AFC Championship tilt with the Kansas City Chiefs, but their front office is already working on the next season. According to the NFL’s transaction wire, the team has signed offensive tackle Ryker Mathews from the Canadian Football League to a futures contract — he will officially join the team once the new league year begins on March 13.
Mathews went undrafted out of BYU in 2016 and entered the NFL as a free agency signing by the New Orleans Saints. However, he failed to make an impact and was ultimately placed on injured reserve with a knee injury three months after joining the team. After getting released with an injury settlement, the 6’6, 320 lbs lineman remained on the open market. In summer 2017, he ultimately went north and joined the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
From 2017 to 2018, Mathews appeared in 26 games for the team. While the 26-year old played primarily on the left side in college, he moved to the right in Canada. And even though he lacks overall athleticism and can be seen as a project for Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia to work with, Mathews’ versatility to serve as a swing tackle combined with solid core strength make for solid addition.
In New England, he will now join an offensive tackle group that might be without two of its top three players next year: starting left tackle Trent Brown is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency in March, as is swing-backup LaAdrian Waddle. Combined with currently injured Ulrick John also headed for the open market, the Patriots would be left with only starting right tackle Marcus Cannon, 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn, as well as practice squad players Tony Adams and Dan Skipper — and now Mathews as well.
Mathews is now the third player to sign a futures deal with the Patriots, as New England also signed two other players last week:
OC Jake Eldrenkamp
DT David Parry