Patriots activate Tyquan Thorton, place Matthew Judon on injured reserve ahead of Las Vegas Raiders game


Thornton missed the first five games of the season due to a shoulder injury.

Tyquan Thornton is expected to make his season debut with the Patriots Sunday. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)
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The Patriots made a number of roster transactions on Saturday including activating wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, elevating defensive lineman Jeremiah Pharms Jr. and wide receiver Jalen Reagor, and signing quarterback/wide receiver Malik Cunningham.

New England also placed linebacker Matthew Judon and offensive lineman Tyrone Wheatley Jr. on injured reserve ahead of Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The additions of WRs Thornton and Reagor come at a perfect time as fellow receivers DeMario Douglas and JuJu Smith-Schuster will not play versus the Raiders due to concussions they suffered against the New Orleans Saints. Patriots WRs have scored just two touchdowns so far this season, both of which coming from Kendrick Bourne in Week 1.

Thornton adds some much-needed speed to a stagnant Patriots offense in need of a spark. The second-year player is coming off of a shoulder injury he sustained in training camp and is set to make his season debut versus Las Vegas. Thornton played 13 games for New England in 2022 and scored two touchdowns.

Reagor, a 2020 first-round draft pick, has yet to record any stats this season, but could certainly get some playing time Sunday. The former Eagle and Minnesota Viking was signed to the Patriots’ practice squad in September before the start of the regular season. He was active for New England in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins but did not see the field.

The news of Cunningham’s signing is intriguing as The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported Friday that the QB/WR is in the Patriots’ game plan versus the Raiders. Moreover, the 25-year-old was not just elevated from the practice squad, but was given a three-year deal by New England to join the 53-man roster.

Pharms Jr. was elevated from the practice squad for the third straight week. With fellow defensive linemen Christian Barmore (knee), Trey Flowers (foot), and Davon Godchaux (ankle) all listed as ‘questionable’ ahead of Sunday, Pharms provides security to a position on the mend.

As for Judon and Wheatley Jr., both will miss at least four games before they can return to play. Judon suffered a torn lower bicep tendon against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said last week that the team has hope the linebacker could return in December.

Wheatley Jr., who has appeared in two games for the Patriots this season, was added to the injury report on Friday with a knee injury. He was listed as out against Las Vegas the same day and is now going to be off the field for at least one month.

Kickoff for New England against the Raiders on the West Coast is set for 4:05 p.m. Eastern Time.