Patriots reportedly trade Pierre Strong Jr. to Browns for OT Tyrone Wheatley Jr.


New England is cutting ties with one of its 2022 fourth-round picks to get much-needed help on the offensive line.

Pierre Strong Jr.’s time in New England ends after one season. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The Patriots are adding depth at offensive tackle at the cost of losing running back depth.

The Patriots are trading running back Pierre Strong Jr. to the Cleveland Browns for offensive tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr., NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday. The move comes two days prior to when teams have to cut down their rosters to 53 players.

With the move, the Patriots get much-needed offensive line help. New England has dealt with injuries to both of its starting guards for much of training camp and the preseason, as it also hasn’t found a starting right tackle yet. The Patriots’ offensive line woes were on display in the last two preseason games, with Mac Jones getting sacked twice in the three drives he played in during the exhibition season and Bailey Zappe getting sacked four times in Friday’s game.

Wheatley could help with that. The 6-foot-6, 26-year-old tackle has reportedly been impressive at left tackle for the Browns during training camp and the preseason, but he’s also yet to register a snap in an NFL regular-season game.

The 2020 undrafted free agent began his career with the Bears in 2021, playing on their practice squad that season. He joined the Browns last September when he signed a deal to join their practice squad. In between his stints with the Bears and Browns, Wheatley spent training camp with the Raiders in 2022.

As for Strong, he became a bit more expendable after the Patriots signed Ezekiel Elliott earlier in August. Rhamondre Stevenson and Elliott are locks to make the final 53-man roster, while Ty Montgomery and J.J. Taylor have had notable roles in the passing game out of the backfield for the Patriots during training camp. Second-year back Kevin Harris has also been heavily involved during the preseason.

Strong’s time in New England ends after one season as the Patriots didn’t get much out of the 2022 fourth-round pick. He played just 51 offensive snaps last season, recording 10 rushes for 100 yards and seven receptions for 42 yards, as most of his playing time came when both Stevenson and Damien Harris were down with injuries. Strong failed to make a strong impression in the preseason, rushing for 52 yards on 14 carries.