With the free agency compensation window officially closed, the market has seen some movement. The New England Patriots also experienced this: not only did they lose cornerback Jason McCourty and wide receiver Damiere Byrd to the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears, respectively, they also recently (re-)signed Harvey Langi to bolster their linebacker and special teams groups.
Now, another pair of ex-Patriots is in the spotlight again: offensive tackles Jermaine Eluemunor and Cameron Fleming are among a group of players working out for the Denver Broncos on Tuesday, as first reported by Matt Lombardo of FanSided.
While Fleming — a former fourth-round draft selection by New England who appeared in a combined 56 games for the club between the 2014 and 2017 season — has not worn a Patriots uniform since leaving in free agency three years ago, Eluemunor was with the team the last two years. Along the way, he appeared in 22 contests.
Eluemunor first joined the club via trade in August 2019. While the former Baltimore Ravens fifth-round draft choice saw only backup duty early on in his Patriots career, he was elevated to a starting role last summer in the aftermath of Marcus Cannon’s Coronavirus opt-out. Working in a rotation with rookie Michael Onwenu, Eluemunor started four games before an ankle injury forced him to be sent to injured reserve.
Eluemunor returned by mid-November but had lost his starting gig to the impressive Onwenu at that point. He still ended up starting four more games down the stretch after a season-ending injury suffered by left tackle Isaiah Wynn, but failed to reach the same solid level of play he showed before his ankle ailment.
Even with Onwenu likely being moved to guard and with Cannon traded to Houston, the Patriots did therefore not rush to bring him back as a free agent. Instead, they re-acquired Trent Brown via trade and picked up William Sherman on Day 3 of the draft.
Now, Eluemunor finally will get his chance to prove himself worthy of an NFL roster spot. He will have to beat out another ex-Patriot as well as at least three other players, though.
At the moment, Eluemunor is one of six members of New England’s final 2020 roster to be unaccounted for in free agency. The others are quarterback Brian Hoyer, running back Rex Burkhead, center James Ferentz, and linebackers John Simon and Shilique Calhoun.