Ever since the New England Patriots selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft, Joe Cardona has been a model of consistency for the organization — not just because of his performances as the club’s long snapper, but also due to his continued availability: Cardona appeared in a combined 92 of a possible 92 regular season and playoff games over his first five seasons with the Patriots.
That does not mean that the wear and tear of playing pro football did not also leave its mark on the 27-year-old, however, and a recent report illustrates it: according to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, Cardona had to undergo offseason shoulder surgery “within the past few weeks.” The procedure, while noteworthy considering that he never popped up on the injury report during the 2019 season, is not expected to “have a major impact on Cardona’s offseason.”
This is good news for both the player and the team, especially given the uncertainty at the kicker position heading into the offseason: Stephen Gostkowski is coming off season-ending hip injury and is scheduled to hit New England’s books with $5.3 million in 2020, while his replacement last year — Nick Folk — is headed towards unrestricted free agency. Given those circumstances, it would not be a surprise if the Patriots entered next season with a new place kicker.
Having Cardona as well as punter/holder Jake Bailey available throughout the offseason process would therefore be big for New England.