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22 Jul 2023


Patriots Raiders Football

New England Patriots right guard Mike Onwenu started all 17 games in 2022 and led the offense with ... [+] 99.4% of the snaps played. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

The New England Patriots are slated to begin training camp without Mike Onwenu on the practice fields shadowing Gillette Stadium.

The organization placed the starting right guard on the physically unable to perform list Friday, according to the NFL transaction wire, after offseason ankle surgery kept him sidelined for the duration of organized team activities and mandatory minicamp in the spring.

As an active/PUP designation, Onwenu remains eligible to return to practice at any point in the summer prior to the 53-man roster deadline, when those moved to reserve/PUP are then required to miss at least four games under league rules.

Onwenu, 25, sustained the injury in the fourth quarter of January’s finale against the Buffalo Bills, resulting in his lone missed snaps of the regular season. The Michigan Wolverines product finished with a team-high 1,046 downs played for the offense while starting all 17 games in the same spot.

Yet to miss a game since arriving in the sixth round of the 2020 draft at No. 182 overall, Onwenu has aligned at left guard, right guard, right tackle and as an eligible tight end during his career. The 6-foot-3, 350-pound blocker has served as a starter for 41 out of his 49 appearances along New England’s line.

Onwenu, a former Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie selection, led the Patriots in performance-based pay after his initial campaign. And this past campaign, while carrying a base salary of $895,000, his $813,083 distribution from the NFL and NFL Players Association’s fund ranked fourth around the league.

In 2022, Onwenu’s 79.3 offensive grade from Pro Football Focus placed him fourth among guards, trailing only Teven Jenkins of the Chicago Bears, Joel Bitonio of the Cleveland Browns and Chris Lindstrom of the Altanta Falcons. He was charted for allowing one sack, two hits and 11 hurries in pass protection and ended the year having been called for two penalties.

Ahead is the contract year for Onwenu, an extension candidate who stands with a $2.993 million base salary for 2023. According to OverTheCap.com, his current $3.043 million cap number currently checks in 19th on New England’s roster.

Veteran special-teamer Cody Davis and rookie defensive tackle Justus Tavai also will open training camp on physically unable to perform for New England.

Rookies and players rehabbing prior injuries reported to Gillette Stadium to begin the weekend. The initial practice in Foxborough is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET next Wednesday.