Patriots fans are panicking about Mike Onwenu after latest free agency move

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA;  New England Patriots offensive guard Mike Onwenu
Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots offensive guard Mike Onwenu / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots are in a unique position this offseason, with a long list of prioritized free agents to re-sign and a lot of money to spend to do it. At the same time, they need to use that cap space wisely to improve their team, especially the mediocre offense that has been their downfall over the last few seasons.

That's why one of the top names expected to hit free agency next week, which the Patriots fans demand they re-sign, is Mike Onwenu, the team's best offensive lineman throughout the last two years.

Because of that, he is viewed as the presumed most sought-after tackle for the other 31 teams in the league, making it even more necessary for the Patriots to lock him down before he can speak to any of them.

Jerod Mayo and the new staff have reportedly been working on doing just that, but negotiations haven't seemed to be going too well, given no updates have been provided.

Then, on Wednesday, the news that New England was signing free agent tackle Chukwuma Okorafor sent fans into a panic, fearing it meant Onwenu was on his way out.

However, that may not be the case.

The general reaction from those who cover the team seemed to share the same sentiment; this move is more about putting together a better OT roster than what they had last year than replacing Onwenu on the roster.

Evan Lazar from said as much in his follow-up piece to the Okorafor news.

"Furthermore, we wouldn't connect the Okorafor signing to the Patriots ongoing negotiations with standout T/G Mike Onwenu. Onwenu is in a different tier of player than Okorafor, meaning this shouldn't deter the Pats from re-signing someone Wolf referred to as a "core" player. Instead, the Okorafor signing is more likely about upgrading from the Riley Reiff, Anderson, McDermott, and Lowe foursome that New England was overreliant on last season."

It may not be directly from Onwenu or the Patriots, but enough reporters with intel seem to say the signing is much ado about nothing. Couple that with the significant difference in production between the two tackles, and it looks like fans can take a deep breath and continue to hold out hope that Onwenu will return.

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