The New England Patriots made a big move around the trade deadline last season, trading for WR Mohamed Saun from the Altanta Falcons. It's fair to say the trade didn't work out the way everybody was hoping for. The question now has to be asked, do the Patriots move forward with, or move on from Saun?
The Patriots had a revolving door at receiver in 2019. Demaryius Thomas (traded), Dontrelle Inman (cut), Maurice Harris (cut), Josh Gordon (cut), Gunner Olszewski (injured) and Antonio Brown (cut). The mainstays were Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, and eventually N'Keal Harry. Tom Brady visibly showed his frustration, and needed help. To try and appease Brady, Bill Belichick sent a second round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for Mohamed Sanu. There were big exceptions with Sanu, Patriots fans believed he was going to be the ultimate difference maker, but by the end of the 2019 season, fans became split on how to handle the man who cost the team a 2nd round pick, and contributed very little.
If the Patriots were to release Sanu, they would save $6.5 million on the cap. With that kind of savings, Belichick could fill the hole left by bringing in two former Patriots Chris Hogan and Austin Carr and still have around $4 million give or take to put towards draft picks.
November 3rd Sanu had a breakout game. Sanu caught 10 of 14 targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. On November 17, 2020 Sanu suffered a high ankle sprain. Sanu continued to play throughout the rest of the 2019 season.
"Healing from a high ankle sprain can take anywhere from six weeks to three months — sometimes even more. Healing time depends on how badly you’ve injured the soft tissue and if there was any bone damage. If there’s too much separation between your tibia and fibula, for example, your doctor may recommend corrective surgery. In that case, you’ll have to wear a cast or a boot for around three months while you recover, then return to physical therapy. High ankle sprains are a more complicated injury than typical ankle sprains, which occur lower and on the outside of the ankle. They can take longer to heal and sometimes require longer than three months to resolve with treatments like splinting, wearing a boot or a walking cast, and physical therapy." - Ana Gotter of healthline.com
On February 28, Sanu had to have surgery to repair the damage from his high ankle sprain, because instead of being benched or put on season ending IR, the New England Patriots continued to play him.
An Injured Sanu managed to finish the season with 26 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown. He also had 9 punt returns for 54 yards, as part of the New England Patriots. Between his time in Atlanta and New England, Sanu finished the 2019 season with 59 receptions for 520 yards and 2 touchdowns. To go along with his 13 other combined touches rushing and returning. Obviously he didn't have the type of production that Patriots fans were hoping for.
The Patriots treat their players as employees. Sanu would not be the first player cast aside after getting injured while playing for the Patriots. Sanu is getting paid a bit much for 2020 and is a prime cut or trade candidate. The Patriots could retain Sanu by tearing up his contract, signing him throughout the 2021 season and having him play for less in 2020. That would be the most humane route to take with him. Belichick has ice in his veins however and doesn't care about anything but business.
At the end of the day when it comes to Mohamed Sanu, what should the Patriots do? Follow the Patriots' way and Patriots Nation should remember: In Bill We Trust. Team is more important than any person that's part of the organization with exception to Robert Kraft, until he is no longer the owner.
It's not up to me to make these type of decisions, if Belichick believes Sanu can be a big part of the Patriots offense this season then he should keep him. If Belichick thinks he could use the money elsewhere, then move him. It's actually that simple. Sometimes we try and over analyze things, it's not that complicated. Saying that, I wouldn't be that surprised if I saw Sanu traded at the Draft.