Patriots starting left guard Cole Strange is expected to miss the start of the 2024 season, a source confirmed to the Boston Herald.

Strange, who suffered the knee injury during the Patriots’ Week 15 loss to the Chiefs last season, could be sidelined until midseason. NFL Media was first to report Strange’s timeline.

This news comes one day after Strange was present but not participating in the Patriots’ first organized team activities practice of the spring Monday. Strange observed the session while wearing sweats.

“He’s more of a, let’s say, week-by-week or you can go month-by-month if you want to,” Coach Jerod Mayo said of Strange’s status. “But he is working hard, you know, he is doing his rehab. He is here every day. He is in the meeting room, so I am happy where he is.”

Strange, the Patriots’ 2022 first-round pick, missed the beginning of the 2023 season after suffering a knee injury on the first day of padded practices last summer in training camp. He also missed three games in the middle of the season with a knee injury.

Sidy Sow, a 2023 fourth-round pick, filled in for Strange at left guard Monday at OTAs with Chukwuma Okorafor at left tackle, David Andrews at center, Nick Leverett at right guard and Mike Onwenu at right tackle. Sow is expected to start at one of the guard spots in 2024. Atonio Mafi and 2024 fourth-round pick Layden Robinson are also candidates to start at guard.

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Strange struggled as a rookie but played well in 2023 around his injuries. He ranked seventh among qualified guards in overall PFF grade from Week 10 on last season. Now, last season’s injury will affect his availability in Year 3. The Patriots must decide whether they want to pick up his fifth-year option after the 2024 season.

IN SIGNING SAFETY Kyle Dugger and defensive tackle Christian Barmore to long-term extensions this offseason, the Patriots retained not only two of their best defenders, but two of their best players.

So how do the best of the Pats get better?

“Just be consistent. Lead by example,” said Dugger, 27, after Monday’s OTA practice. “Put my foot forward, and help anywhere I see possible. Not try to do everything, do what is needed of me. Help the younger guys come along, and things like that.”

Barmore was more to the point.

“Playing everywhere on the D-line,” the 24-year-old said. “Everywhere I go, just dominate.”

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Last month, Barmore inked the richest contract ever handed to a Patriots player not named Tom Brady. The front office locked him up on a four-year, $84 million contract, including $41.8 million guaranteed. Barmore, who turns 25 in July, is entering the prime of his career and coming off a career year.

The 2021 second-round pick pocketed 8.5 sacks, 64 tackles, six pass deflections and a forced fumble last year. He is expected to start full-time this season, after making a personal-best six starts last year. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder has shown immense improvement with his run defense, but it’s his pass rush and versatility that got him paid.

And Barmore doesn’t plan on stopping now.

“My goal is to take my game to another level, and just be bigger than ever. Be a baller,” he said. “Let my game speak for itself. Just doing everything my coaches need me to do and being the guy for my teammates.”

As for Dugger, who turns 28 this summer, he reached terms on a 4-year, $58 million extension after receiving the transition tag, which sparked tense negotiations. Those talks ended in early April with a done deal.

“It’s just a relief, honestly,” he said. “It’s nothing you can completely ignore, as much as you try to, if I’m being honest. That’s always kind of sitting there. As much as you try and focus on the field and other things like that. But once you can come to an agreement, it just allows you to get back and put all your focus on the field, the work, and everything going on that will help you play better going into the new season.”

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SECOND-YEAR pro Keion White called the Patriots’ defense “blessed” after Monday’s organized team activities practice because there is so much carryover from the 2023 season.

Coach Bill Belichick parted ways with the team, but defensive assistants Jerod Mayo and DeMarcus Covington were promoted to head coach and defensive coordinator and the Patriots are bringing back most of last season’s defensive starters.

Still, there was a noticeable difference in Monday’s practice to the young defensive end.

“We don’t got Bill cursing us out every play anymore, but it’s still pretty similar,” White said of the Patriots’ program.

The 2023 second-round pick made it clear he wasn’t taking a shot at his former head coach.

“I miss it,” he said. “I like Bill. He’s my type of coach, like a hard-ass. I like that. I respond well to things like that. But Mayo’s done a pretty good job, too. It’s all different. Mayo’s doing a really good job of staying true to himself, not trying to fill somebody else’s shoes, but create his own path, and I really respect that.”

NOTES: Wide receiver DeVante Parker, who was released by the Patriots on March 14 and signed with the Eagles, announced his retirement Monday. The Patriots were set to pay him $3.19 million in 2024 but his retirement makes his guaranteed salary null and void, per a clause in his contract … Patriots cornerback Marcus Jones, who missed most of the 2023 season with a torn labrum, said that he’s back to 100% … Mayo called Patriots third-year pro Bailey Zappe a “true professional” as he competes with quarterbacks Drake Maye, Jacoby Brissett and Joe Milton. “Obviously, he is going to be competing with those guys, but at the same time, he is an open book. He is a resource. He has started games in this league, and that’s more than the other two quarterbacks can say.”


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