According to the league’s transaction wire, Patriots starting offensive linemen Isaiah Wynn and Michael Onwenu have landed on the COVID-19 list. Whether or not the two players tested positive for the virus or were deemed close contacts is uncertain. If Wynn and Onwenu are vaccinated they can return to the team after two negative tests on consecutive days, however, if they are not vaccinated they will be out for a minimum of 10 days.
Even if both players can go on Sunday against the Texans, the team’s preparation is certain to be affected as both players can be expected to miss at least Wednesday and Thursday’s practice. If they can’t go, Yodny Cajuste and Ted Karras would likely be the top options to fill in at left tackle and left guard respectively. After missing his first two seasons with injuries, Cajuste was one of the surprises of training camp with his solid play that earned him a roster spot. However, Cajuste has not seen any time at right tackle as the team has rotated players to fill in for the injured Trent Brown. Justin Herron could also be considered at left tackle, a spot he filled in at as a rookie in 2020.
Karras gives the Patriots some reliability as a potential fill-in at guard. The experienced and versatile lineman should be ready to provide solid play, the only reassuring element to the situation.
With Mac Jones under too much duress early in the season, losing Wynn and Onwenu is another tough circumstance to overcome and adds another dimension to the upcoming road game against the Texans.