By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The New England Patriots are always active at the NFL trade deadline. They’re once again heavily involved in rumors, so you can once again expect them to make some kind of move before the 2018 deadline passes.
It remains to be seen how big of move they make, and what positions they target. But if they make a big one, they could do it for a wide receiver. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer had the biggest report of the past week regarding the Patriots, hinting at a potential move for a “bona fide, premium” receiver before Tuesday’s deadline. Glazer believes the Patriots are shopping “high draft picks” for such a player.
Glazer is hinting at a crazy deadline, with or without the Patriots getting involved. Among the receivers on the block Glazer mentioned by name are the 49ers’ Pierre Garcon and the Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas (UPDATE: Per Ian Rapoport, Thomas will be traded to the Texans for a mid-round pick). It’s unclear whether Glazer considers those players among the “bona fide, premium” names he says the Patriots are targeting.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport lent credence to Glazer’s report on Twitter, adding that the Patriots are interested in Thomas from the Broncos. Rapoport adds another name to the mix that’s been involved in Patriots rumors before: Lions WR Golden Tate (UPDATE: Tate tweeted that he’s being traded to the Eagles, which Adam Schefter also reported).
Even further fueling the pre-deadline conversation was Rapoport’s colleague Tom Pelissero. He spoke at length on Tate’s situation in Detroit, where the Lions would still need to be “blown away” to trade the veteran slot receiver, despite the fact that he’s 30 years old and in a contract year. Pelissero believes “blown away” would be a mid-round draft pick.
As good of a fit he’d likely be in the Patriots offense, a 30-year-old Tate doesn’t exactly scream “premium”. That word sounds more like the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. or the Falcons’ Julio Jones, who would represent true home run moves. It’s more likely the Patriots make a smaller move than that for a receiver, but then again nobody expected Bill Belichick to move a first-round pick for Brandin Cooks a year ago.
The Patriots have plenty of depth on their current wide receiver depth chart, but have virtually no long-term certainty. Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson will be free agents after the season. They won’t be picking up Phillip Dorsett’s fifth-year option. Julian Edelman is signed through only 2019 and will be 33 years old next season. And despite the recent emergence of Josh Gordon as a viable target in the offense, he’ll be a restricted free agent and not a likely candidate for a long-term deal.
So with that in mind, the Patriots’ push for a “premium” receiver almost certainly has to be a move for beyond just 2018 and 2019. They may be looking to acquire a wideout that they can lock up for at least 3-4 years. The going rate for a receiver that Glazer describes may be a first-round pick, considering that’s what it took for the Patriots to acquire Cooks from the Saints and for the Rams to get Cooks from them. Amari Cooper just went from the Raiders to the Cowboys for a first, so it looks like that market hasn’t changed.
Here are some other trade deadline rumors going around that involve the Patriots, or could be a possibility for Bill Belichick…
— The Patriots have had internal discussions for a trade deadline reunion with Browns linebacker Jamie Collins, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Collins was unceremoniously dumped to the NFL wasteland that is Cleveland at the 2016 trade deadline, and he signed a four-year deal worth up to $50 million soon after that. Collins appears to have fallen out of favor there. Perhaps he re-elevates himself with a second stint in New England, going from one of the worst situations imaginable back to the team that drafted him and won him a Super Bowl in the 2014 season.
— Other Broncos who have reportedly been part of discussions are receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and cornerbacks Chris Harris and Bradley Roby, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.
— Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon has long been rumored to be on the trade block after reportedly falling out of favor in Arizona.
It’s been teased as a wild trade deadline on the horizon. The Patriots are a pretty safe bet to be a part of it.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.