With training camp set to be kicked off later this week, the New England Patriots are fully “on to 2021.”
The team currently has 91 players under contract, but only 53 of them will be able to survive roster cutdowns in August and September and ultimately make the active team. Over the course of spring and summer, just like we have in years past, we are taking a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots bounce back from what was a disappointing 7-9 season last year.
Today, the series continues with interior offensive lineman Alex Redmond.
Name: Alex Redmond
Jersey number: 64
Opening day age: 26
Size: 6-foot-5, 295 pounds
Contract status: Under contract through 2021 (2022 UFA)
What is his experience? Skipping his senior season at UCLA to enter the NFL, Redmond went unselected during the 2016 draft. He eventually joined the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent, though, and spent the first five years of his career with the organization. Starting on the team’s practice squad, he eventually made his way onto the active roster and by the 2018 season had established himself as Cincinnati’s starting right guard — a role he effectively only held for one year, however.
Redmond spent the next two seasons moving between the Bengals’ suspension list, active roster, injured reserve and practice squad, and as a result of this instability started only nine combined games over the 2019 and 2020 campaigns. In total, he has 32 in-game appearances on his NFL résumé with a total of 24 starts — all of them coming at the right guard position. Redmond left Cincinnati after the 2020 season and arrived in New England in mid-May following a successful free agency workout.
What did his 2020 season look like? Coming off an eventful season that saw him get suspended for a performance-enhancing drug violation and later get sent to injured reserve because of a torn biceps, Redmond headed into 2020 as a restricted free agent. Despite his tumultuous 2019 campaign, however, the Bengals decided to tender the former undrafted rookie at the original-round level. A few weeks later, he eventually signed the one-year offer worth a total of $2.13 million.
Nonetheless, Redmond was released on roster cutdown day after having spent virtually all of training camp on the non-football injury list. He spent two weeks on the open market before returning to Cincinnati as an addition to the practice squad. Redmond spent two weeks on the developmental squad before being promoted to the 53-man roster again; from that point on he started to receive regular playing time again and for some time was even able to reclaim the starting right guard job he had already held in 2018.
In total, Redmond appeared in nine games for the Bengals. Starting seven of those contests, he finished the season having played 448 of a possible 1,076 offensive snaps (41.6%) — all of them at the right guard position. Along the way, he gave up 13 quarterback disruptions, including three sacks. All in all, Redmond had an up-and-down season and lost his starting role again after suffering a concussion during a late-November game against the New York Giants. He played only one more snap for the remainder of the year.
What is his projected role? Despite Joe Thuney’s free agency departure earlier this offseason, the Patriots are very much set at the guard positions: Michael Onwenu will start on the left side with Shaq Mason set to return on the right. With Ted Karras also returning to fill a versatile backup role, Redmond will likely compete for the fourth guard role. While playing predominately on the right side so far during his NFL career, he has the experience to possible also help on the left. Either way, he seems destined for backup duty.
What is his special teams value? Offensive linemen have limited value in the kicking game and Redmond is no exception. The former rookie free agent can help out as a protector on field goal and extra point plays, however — a role he played regularly during his time with the Bengals. In total, he has played 108 special teams snaps over the course of his career; 34 of them came last season. Redmond aligned as the left tackle in such situations.
Does he have positional versatility? Over the last three seasons, Redmond aligned exclusively at right guard. However, he does bring some intriguing versatility to the table: not only was he used on special teams quite regularly, he also has played some left guard and left tackle earlier in his career. On top of it all, Redmond also has five defensive snaps on his NFL résumé: back in 2017, the Bengals used him as a package-specific nose tackle in short-yardage situations. He has not seen any defensive playing time since, however.
What is his salary cap situation? Redmond joined the Patriots on a one-year contract earlier this offseason that is only partially counting against their salary cap at the moment. According to Miguel Benzan, he carries a $990,000 salary of which $140,000 are treated as a benefit. Furthermore, he has received a $40,000 signing bonus as well as $26,471 in active roster bonuses. Those bonuses worth a combined $66,471 are the only numbers currently on New England’s books. The non-benefit portion of his salary (i.e. $850,000) will only be added to the equation if he makes the 53-man roster.
What is his roster outlook? Having spent five seasons in Cincinnati, Redmond is actually one of the most experienced members of New England’s current offensive line. That said, he is still not guaranteed a spot on the roster. The 26-year-old will have to stand his ground against other interior candidates currently signed by the Patriots: James Ferentz, Marcus Martin, R.J Price, Korey Cunningham and William Sherman. While beating them out is not a massively tall task, Redmond cannot count on his experience alone to get the job done. Accordingly, he enters training camp as a bubble player whose outlook remains very much uncertain at the moment.