clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Quick-hit thoughts on former Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn signing with the Dolphins

After five years in New England, Wynn is taking his talents to the Miami Dolphins.

New England Patriots v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

After five years with the New England Patriots, the Isaiah Wynn era has come to an end. The 23rd overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft is taking his talents to Florida: as first reported on Sunday, Wynn is signing a one-year free agency contract with the Miami Dolphins.

Here are a handful of thoughts and notes on the move.

The writing was on the wall: Wynn joined the Patriots as a first-round draft pick and later saw his fifth-year contract option get picked up. But while the team appeared to be committed to him, the two sides parting ways does not come as a surprise: not only did Wynn remain unsigned for two months, there also never appeared to be a serious effort made by New England to retain him.

Why? His injury history likely has played a role in that, as might have his struggles after moving to right tackle in 2022. Regardless of the motivations behind the Patriots effectively leaving Wynn leave, him doing so is not a surprise at all.

Wynn was a ‘What could have been’-type first-round pick more so than a bust: While it is easy to label first-round draft picks who ended up not signing second contracts as busts, that term does not do Wynn justice. When he was available, after all, he played some really good football — that was especially true early on his career.

The problem for the Georgia product was that his availability was inconsistent. Wynn appeared in only 44 of a possible 87 games over his five-year tenure in New England, and suited up for the final game of the season only once.

As noted above, injuries might not have been the only reason why the Patriots were willing to let him walk. However, they very much derailed a career that showed plenty of promise in its early parts.

The Patriots’ 2018 draft class is down to one player: Wynn was the first player selected by the Patriots in the 2018 NFL Draft. He is the second-to-last to leave: only linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, who signed a two-year extension last offseason, remains left standing; a fifth-round draft pick, Bentley proved himself a productive player for the team as well as a locker room leader.

The other eight players picked that year failed to reach that same status. Wynn is now off to Miami; fellow former first-round selection Sony Michel was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021 and is currently a free agent; CBs Duke Dawson (2-56) and Keion Crossen (7-243) were traded to Denver and Houston, respectively, after only one season; LB Christian Sam (6-178) and WR Braxton Berrios (6-210) were cut after spending their rookie seasons on injured reserve; QB Danny Etling (7-219) was let go after spending his rookie season on the practice squad (and trying to move to wide receiver); TE Ryan Izzo (7-250) was sent to Houston after three mostly injury-filled seasons.

The Patriots also added one noteworthy undrafted free agent that year. Cornerback J.C. Jackson had a successful four-year stint as a Patriot, but he was not re-signed in free agency and instead joined the Los Angeles Chargers. After one disappointing season in L.A., Jackson is looking forward to a “revenge game” against New England in the 2023 regular season.

New England’s compensatory draft picks formula will not be impacted: The NFL does compensate teams for losing players through the open market; if a club loses more qualifying players than it gains, the difference will be translated in draft-pick compensation. A club can earn up to four extra selections that way, with the highest available pick at the end of the third round.

So, will Wynn impact that formula? No, he will not. The NFL compensation window was already closed earlier this month, and New England is not projected to earn any extra selections next spring.

Two free agents are left unsigned, and neither should be expected back: The Patriots entered the 2023 offseason with 19 players set to enter free agency. 17 of those 19 have now been accounted for, leaving only two without a team: offensive tackle Marcus Cannon and punter Michael Palardy remain on the open market.

While that theoretically means they might return to New England, that seems unlikely. Not only does the team currently have all 90 spots on its offseason roster filled, neither Cannon nor Palardy appear to be any sort of priority for the Patriots at the moment.

The 35-year-old Cannon is a candidate to head off to retirement after ending the 2022 season due to a concussion; Palardy, meanwhile, struggled and later had to watch the Patriots sign free agent Corliss Waitman and select Bryce Baringer in the sixth round of the draft.