New England Patriots

Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos leaps and makes a catch in the third quarter of a game against the Chicago Bears at Empower Field at Mile High on September 15, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Even hamstrung by Antonio Brown’s dead money, the Patriots may not be done trying to add a dynamic wide receiver.

Top NFL insider Jay Glazer dropped another hint about the Patriots’ possible interest in trading for a wide receiver in his newest mailbag column for The Athletic. Last year he said the Patriots were targeting premium receivers, including Golden Tate, before they made no moves at the trade deadline.

Now, he’s saying it “wouldn’t shock me” if the Patriots targeted a wideout like the Broncos’ Emmanuel Sanders. Glazer notes that the Patriots tried to trade for Randall Cobb last season and other reports indicate they tried to sign a receiver in free agency. After they struck out on Tate, Adam Humphries, and Cole Beasley, they pounced on Brown after the Raiders released him before the start of the season.

That the Patriots moved so aggressively on Brown should be evidence enough that they would like to significantly bolster their receiver depth chart. Despite having a little more upside than 2018, that area could clearly use an upgrade in Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s view. Sanders, one of the league’s best route-runners and a fearless possession receiver over the middle of the field, would represent one of the better fits of any wideout that would plausibly be available in a trade.

Dec 14, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) signs autographs after the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being 32 years old, Sanders is on pace for 92 catches, 1,192 yards, and eight touchdowns so far in 2019. The Patriots would absolutely take that production.

The roadbloack with Sanders, as with any impact receiver coming to New England, is money. If the Patriots were to acquire Sanders after eight weeks at the trade deadline, they’d be on the hook for a cap hit of about $5.125 million. Via Albert Breer, the Patriots have just $1.8 million in current space. So it would take some financial maneuvering for Bill Belichick to fit Sanders under the cap, especially if he wanted to acquire him even earlier than the deadline.

It’s not impossible, but it would probably require other players to push their cap hits into 2020 and beyond. Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower may be two guys that Belichick would ask to do that. For a player like Sanders, it may be worth it for someone to make a concession.

Of course, Glazer dropped a similar nugget before the 2018 trade deadline and the Patriots stood pat. So this doesn’t mean anything is going to actually happen. But if the Patriots do trade for Sanders, it would rank pretty highly among the least surprising moves Belichick has made.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 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