3 positions the Patriots could tackle by trade deadline



The Patriots probably won’t make a big splash at the trade deadline, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t positions they need to address.

Is Arizona’s Andy Isabella (and former UMass star) a possibility for the Patriots? PA

The first big domino of the NFL trade deadline fell in a major way with the Denver Broncos sending longtime star Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams. Are the Patriots the next to make a splash?

Preferably not.

Although Bill Belichick gave his usual ‘We’ll look at our options’ word salad when asked how active New England will be before the 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday, one of his responses seemed to resonate. more than the others.

“If in the league there are 100 deals that are being talked about, there are probably four that will be done,” Belichick said of the deal discussions.

This would seem to suggest the Patriots won’t be making too many spectacular moves by this year’s deadline, although the odds of them being buyers certainly appear higher after beating the Chargers on Sunday to move to 4-4.

That said, Belichick has already pulled off a few surprise moves this season by trading Stephon Gilmore to Carolina, cutting Cam Newton ahead of the season, and acquiring cornerback Shaun Wade and tackle Yasir Durant via trade.

Plus, if the Patriots are to make the playoffs this year, there’s no denying that they might need a little more help.

Here are some need positions the team could keep a close eye on as the deadline counts down, as well as some names that are said to be on the trading block.

corner half

This one is obvious.

JC Jackson has performed very well as the team’s No. 1 cornerback and has the confidence to match his game. But things are getting scarcer at other corners.

Stephon Gilmore’s trade and the season-ending shoulder injury to Jonathan Jones left Jalen Mills and Myles Bryant to play full-time roles the Patriots never wanted them to play at the start of this season.

Mills, in particular, has turned on in his last four games after a strong start to the season, with teams apparently planning to attack him every week.

Sure, the Patriots have traded to Wade before before the season, but he’s yet to play in a game and has been out for weeks after suffering a concussion.

A real outside cornerback would be a nice acquisition at the deadline. The problem is, there aren’t many obvious ones that make sense.

The Broncos would probably love to get rid of Kyle Fuller, but he might not even be worth picking late in the round. That’s what New England asks their corners to do more than any team in the league.

Could the Patriots get cornerback AJ Bouye from the Carolina Panthers on the cheap now that Gilmore is here and already collecting assists? Bouye can play both away and in the slot machine, which New England appreciates from their defensive backs. But he’s also 30 years old and more of a name than a player at this point.

Someone like Philadelphia’s Steven Nelson or Houston’s Vernon Hargreaves would be cheaper options that the Patriots have seen up close in joint practice and the regular season, but neither are elite players.

Bringing in a cornerback via trade can seem horrible considering they just sent a pretty good one and rolled with a much lower save. But the Patriots just can’t ride with Mills on the outside for the rest of the season and expect it to end well.

You’d love to see Wade step up and contribute, but you also have to remember that he’s a rookie who has barely practiced in the NFL yet.

Belichick and Co. have no one to blame but themselves for being in this position.

Wide receiver

So far, this revamped reception hall for the Patriots hasn’t garnered much interest.

Jakobi Meyers leads the team when it comes to receiving and is clearly Jones’ favorite target.

After that, Kendrick Bourne, who had been making big plays in recent weeks, landed in the doghouse on Sunday after losing a fumble to the Chargers.

Nelson Agholor had a touchdown against the Jets and a 44-yard grab against the Chargers, but was largely invisible for long stretches of games.

The Patriots could use another wide receiver, especially one with some speed.

In theory, someone like the Rams’ DeSean Jackson could provide a little more juice if nothing else. He’s 34 and has just eight catches this season, but two of them were for 60 yards or more, one of his hallmarks. Jackson, one of the greatest threats of all time, can still run and punish defenses that don’t honor him on the field, which few Patriots players can say.

A potential cheaper option could be Arizona’s Andy Isabella, who quickly fell behind DeAndre Hopkins, AJ Green and Christian Kirk in the Cardinals’ larger reception hall.

Do you know what could be really sweet? A meeting of Brandin Cooks. As bad as Texans are, he might just be available. He’s not too expensive and would likely be the team’s best receiver from the moment he showed up, which means no disrespect to Meyers.

In addition, cooks are not this redundant with Agholor; Cooks is more versatile than Agholor in terms of mix in the lunge as well as outside the numbers and is a superior road runner. Additionally, you can unload Cooks after a season if you want to avoid its 2022 price.

It’s a sneaky move the Patriots might have some interest in and one that could certainly benefit Mac Jones, especially if they can get N’Keal Harry out of town before the deadline. Otherwise, New England could just wait and see if Harry can contribute anything before being cut or traded in the offseason.

To recover

At first glance, this doesn’t seem to make much sense. Why would you give up a pick for a running back when Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are sitting behind him?

The answer may lie in the confidence the Patriots place in their current stable of running backs to pick up the blitz and catch passes out of the backfield.

Harris and Stevenson have both dropped the sacks due to poor protection this season, while Brandon Bolden, who is more reliable as a passing protector, doesn’t really scare teams as a runner or receiver at this. stage of his career.

New England will likely end the season they’ve got, but it’s worth considering if they could do better behind Harris.

Houston has already sold a veteran running back over the past week, trading starter Mark Ingram to the New Orleans Saints. Perhaps the Patriots might find Texans substitutes David Johnson or Phillip Lindsay interesting; either would be better pace-shifting full-backs than Bolden or JJ Taylor and perhaps more trustworthy than Stevenson at this point in his career. Bolden could then play a role of purely special teams in this case.

But bigger names in the market like Marlon Mack of Indianapolis or Melvin Gordon of Denver are probably not on the Patriots’ radar. They would cost too much and the Patriots should still try to get Stevenson some door rather than burying it completely behind a newcomer.

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