New England Patriots

What led to Trent Brown's healthy scratch in Patriots-Bills?

It sounds like the Patriots are nearing their wit's end with Brown.

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Trent Brown is one of the New England Patriots' best offensive players when available. But availability has been a significant issue for the veteran offensive tackle.

Brown was a healthy scratch for the Patriots' 27-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on Sunday. As our Phil Perry pointed out on NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Pregame Live, Brown didn't even have a locker set up for him in the visitors' locker room and there was no sign of the 6-foot-8, 360-pound tackle before or after the game, which means it's possible he didn't even make the trip to Buffalo.

So, why didn't Brown play if he wasn't injured? According to the Boston Sports Journal's Mike Giardi, it sounds like the Patriots are nearing their wit's end with Brown's undependability.

"Internally, Brown has not only been testing the limits of the coaching staff's resolve but downright thumbing his nose at what's expected and required inside the walls at One Patriot Place," Giardi wrote of Brown. "Hence, the Pats decided they'd rather roll with Vederian Lowe, who hasn't shown he's a left tackle in this league - or maybe even a right - than play the undependable Brown."

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Brown had missed three of the Patriots' last seven games entering Sunday while battling ankle and knee injuries, but Giardi reports that some in the locker room believe he could have played in some of the games he missed.

"A lot of us - almost all - are fighting for each other and for pride, even though the results aren't what any of us want," an unnamed player told Giardi. "It sucks that not everyone is willing to put it out there. I hope people who sign the checks are paying attention."

That's a damning quote of Brown, who now is set to miss out on up to $6.5 million in contract incentives after not playing in Sunday's game, according to Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan.

So, perhaps Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was sending Brown a message Sunday by leaving him off the active roster and giving his spot to backup Vederian Lowe.

"We played the players we wanted to play," Belichick told reporters after the game.

Brown is set to hit unrestricted free agency in 2024, and it seems highly unlikely he'll re-sign with the Patriots -- especially after voicing his displeasure about not receiving a contract extension in an interview with A to Z Sports' Sophie Weller.

"We already had that opportunity," Brown said. "We have had plenty of opportunities to get that done. I mean, I'm not opposed to it, but we are at the end of the season.

"... It'd be kind of like, I feel like I'd be kind of doing myself a disservice to not see what other opportunities are out there, just at this point."

The Patriots desperately need help at offensive tackle, but despite Brown's ability, he simply doesn't seem like a reliable option going forward for New England.

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