The New England Patriots made a pair of trades on Wednesday to bolster the depth along their offensive line. First, the team acquired Korey Cunningham from the Arizona Cardinals to add another offensive tackle to the mix that could potentially serve as a swing-backup behind starters Isaiah Wynn and Marcus Cannon. The Patriots later also invested in versatile interior lineman Jermaine Eluemunor, who previously played for the Baltimore Ravens.
While the team gave up ‘only’ a sixth-round draft selection to get Cunningham on board, the trade details for Eluemunor show that the Patriots are apparently expecting some big things out of him: as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the world champions sent a fourth-round pick to Baltimore in order to acquire the the 24-year-old and a sixth-round selection — a hefty price for a player scheduled to hit restricted free agency next year.
Of course, the NFL is a seller’s market and the Eluemunor trade shows this. The Patriots were in dire need of more depth along their interior offensive line with starting center David Andrews being diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs and fourth-round rookie Hjalte Froholdt being little more than a developmental option at this point in his career. That being said, the compensation still speaks for Eluemunor’s outlook in the short and long term.
The third-year man, who joined the Ravens as a fifth-round draft pick in 2017, is now essentially a lock to make the 53-man roster as the top backup option at guard and potentially even center. Needless to say that New England’s staff feels confident in his abilities to perform at a serviceable level if called upon. And if this confidence is warranted, Eluemunor might also factor in the equation at left guard moving forward.
After all, current starter Joe Thuney is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency next offseason. His return is no guarantee and if he indeed leaves New England, Eluemunor will be a prime candidate to serve as a replacement until Froholdt is ready to take over. That is all speculation at this point in time, yes, but the trade compensation still makes a scenario like this one worth thinking about. For now, however, Eluemunor will play a backup role.