Jerod Mayo, as you’ve probably heard by now, is out for the season due to a shoulder injury. A fixture on the roster since he was drafted in 2008, Mayo is a leader on the defense and a leader on the team. He was enjoyed a solid bounce-back season following missing ten games in each of the last two years.
Mayo’s injury frankly doesn’t scare me that much. Yeah, it hurts depth. Yeah, it sucks to lose him because he is a fan favorite and he is still a quality player and everything. But he’s not a guy that started a lot for them this year. #51 didn’t really get a chance to play until Jonathan Freeny got hurt in the season, and he slid on in. Now, Freeny is healthy and back in the lineup for the Patriots. And that’s not a bad thing. Freeny had three more tackles in three less games and one less start than Mayo. He also has as many sacks as Mayo and more forced fumbles on the season. He doesn’t have the sexy, superstar, former first-round pick’s name, but he gets the same results.
What gets interesting to me is where Mayo ends up at the end of the season. Does he return to New England, a place where he’s made his name and is beloved by every fan? A place where he’s set up his family? Or does he chase what potentially is his last big professional contract? Typically, I’d probably bet on the latter, but things aren’t that simple for Mayo. He’s had knee and shoulder issues while just turning 30 this year. I think he’ll end up taking a pay-cut and stay with the Patriots because it’s more of a sure thing, but I’d rather worry about his contract issues come the offseason.
Regardless of the Mayo-Freeny discussion, neither are as good as Jamie Collins or Dont’a Hightower, both of whom are dealing with injuries of their own. If one of them was to be out, that’s where I’d start to get nervous. I’d rather have all hands on deck for this game, but Collins and Hightower are musts in the defense.
No need to panic, Patriots Nation. It’s not the worst thing that could’ve happened.
Cover Photo courtesy of Getty Images.