- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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With their depth along the offensive line depleted and some of their young backups yet to emerge, the New England Patriots agreed to a trade with the Atlanta Falcons for fifth-year guard Quinn Ojinnaka.
Ojinnaka passed his physical on Monday morning and the team announced the transaction shortly afterward.
The Patriots will send an undisclosed draft choice to the Falcons. To make room for Ojinnaka, the team waived rookie cornerback Terrence Johnson, who was a longshot to make the final roster.
Ojinnaka (6-foot-5, 299 pounds) has appeared in 39 career games with 12 starts for the Falcons. He was on the roster bubble in Atlanta after the Falcons drafted two interior offensive linemen this year, Mike Johnson (third round) and Joe Hawley (fourth round).
The guard spot has been a concern for the Patriots with Logan Mankins not reporting for camp and his replacement, Nick Kaczur, sidelined with a serious back injury. Fill-in Dan Connolly has stepped in at left guard, but the depth on the second unit has been thinned.
The Patriots have their full complement of draft choices in 2011, with additional selections in the first, second and sixth rounds. A player of Ojinnaka's caliber would likely command only a later-round pick, assuming he makes New England's roster.
Ojinnaka entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice out of Syracuse. He has spent the first four years of his career with the Falcons.
Ojinnaka, who has lined up at tackle, guard and center, is suspended for the first game of this season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
He was arrested in May 2009 and charged with battery after his wife confronted him over his contact with a female friend on Facebook. He was accused of tossing his wife down stairs and throwing her out of the house.
Foxsports.com first reported the trade agreement.
12hDoug Clawson, ESPN Stats & Information