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Patriot Maven Notebook: Back to the Futures, Pair of Patriots Activated From COVID-19/Reserve and more

Also, it was one cold night in Orchard Park on Saturday as the Patriots took on the Bills, in more ways than one.

As the New England Patriots continue to absorb the finality of their season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills, they will continue to look ahead to 2022. From another promising addition to the list of players signed to a futures contract, to a pair of Pats being removed from COVID-19/Reserve, here are the latest Pats news and notes, courtesy of the Patriot Maven Notebook

Pats Sign Hambright to Futures Contract

The list of potential Patriots for the upcoming 2022 season continues to grow. New England signed former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Arlington Hambright to a futures contract on Tuesday afternoon, as confirmed by the NFL transaction wire.

Hambright spent his collegiate career at Garden City Community College, Oklahoma State, and eventually Colorado. He was selected by the Bears in the seventh round of the 2020 draft at No. 266 overall. He appeared in nine games during his rookie season, starting one game at left guard while totaling 82 snaps on offense and 43 snaps on special teams. In 2021, he served as a roster elevation in October against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but did not play.

Listed at 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, Hambright would provide additional size to the line. He also has to potential to see time alongside his former college teammate, Will Sherman. The pair previously served as the pair of starting tackles in 2019, with Sherman starting at right tackle and Hambright starting on the left.

Sherman was among six players sighed to futures contracts on Monday by New England. The list also included kicker Quinn Nordin, running back Devine Ozigbo, wide receivers Malcolm Perry, Tre Nixon and Kristian Wilkerson.

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Mills, Wade Activated from COVID/Reserve

The Patriots also activated cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Shaun Wade off the COVID-19/Reserve list on Monday, according to the NFL transaction wire.

Neither Mills, nor Wade were able to clear COVID-19 protocols prior to last Friday’s 4 p.m. ET, making them ineligible for Saturday’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills. In their absence, cornerbacks Joejuan Williams, Myles Bryant, Justin Bethel and elevations D’Angelo Ross and De’Vante Bausby saw snaps in the secondary alongside Pro Bowler J.C. Jackson. The Patriots struggled to provide consistent coverage in the secondary, dropping their only playoff matchup of the 2021 season by a final score of 47-17.

Mills started 16 games in the regular season in the regular season, compiling 47 tackles, one fumble recovery and seven passes deflected over that span. His 913 defensive snaps finished third among all Patriots defenders. Pro Football Focus charted his coverage for no more than 20 receiving yards allowed in seven of his final eight games. Mills had been on COVID-19/reserve since last Tuesday.

Wade saw action in just three games during his rookie season in New England. The 23-year-old logged one tackle, while taking 11 snaps on defense and seven snaps on special teams. Originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens (via Ohio State) in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Wade was acquired via in August in exchange for a 2022 seventh-round pick and a 2023 fifth-round pick.

Just How Cold Was It?

While the memory of Saturday night’s loss to the Bills will be among the iciest in New England Patriots folklore, it will also go down as one of the most frigid weather matchups in team history. Saturday’s 47-17 loss to the Bills was the third coldest game in Patriots’ team history. The game time temperature at kickoff was 7 degrees with a wind chill of -5. The Patriots divisional playoff game versus the Tennessee Titans on January 10, 2004 was played in 4 degrees with a wind chill of -10. The Pats also played at Pittsburgh on January 12, 1989, amid temperatures of 5 degrees with a wind chill of -12