Sanu injured his ankle on a 14-yard punt return against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 17, his third game in New England after being acquired in a trade.
The Patriots had high hopes for Sanu; they surrendered a second-round draft choice to the Atlanta Falcons to acquire him last October. Sanu gave them an early return on that investment by totaling 10 receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown in an early November loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
But the high ankle sprain in the team's following game -- as Sanu made three coverage players miss before being twisted down by Eagles defensive back Rudy Ford -- changed the trajectory of Sanu's time in New England.
Sanu missed the Patriots' next game, a win over the Dallas Cowboys, before returning to action. But the elusiveness he showed on the punt return, and prior to that, was not as apparent the rest of the season. In eight regular-season games in New England, he finished with 26 receptions for 207 yards and one touchdown.
Sanu enters the final year of his contract in 2020 and is scheduled to earn a base salary of $6.5 million.