New England Patriots

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Oregon Ducks warms up before the college football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Lying Season™ is here in the NFL, and it is thick. This is the time of the year where a lot of fun reports come out and the rest of us get to offer our takes on it and discuss all the possibilities. One or more of these reports may even turn out to be true.

The most fair assessment of most pre-NFL Draft reporting is that the reporters are accurately reporting what they’re told, but the details shouldn’t be taken as a true sign of the future. The reporters aren’t making stuff up so much as their sources are, especially when it comes to the NFL offseason and the draft. So when Peter King reports in his Monday column for Pro Football Talk that a “rival GM” said the Patriots “love” quarterback Justin Herbert out of Oregon, he most certainly received this comment from a real person.

But does it mean Herbert is definitely going to be a Patriot? No.

But is it fun to discuss, especially now that the long-term future at QB is uncertain? Sure!

From King’s column:

23. NEW ENGLAND. “They love Justin Herbert, but enough to trade up for him?” one rival GM said. Pats do have 12 picks—second-most in the draft—for ammo, but only one of those comes in the top 85. If they want Herbert, they’d likely have to be willing to part with the 2021 first-rounder in a trove of picks. After losing out on Hayden Hurst in their latest hunt for a tight end, no way the Pats could reach for versatile Notre Damer Cole Kmet here to solve the tight end problem, is there?

Nov 23, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (10) against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The first question is which “rival GM” would say this to King and what his motivation would be. This could be his way of telling a potential trade partner elsewhere in the league, “Hey you better give me pick x because I got Bill Belichick ready to move up for this kid.” Just pulling a theory out of my patoot. But that’s an example of a GM calling a prominent national writer and feeding him information that he wants to be known publicly, for whatever reason. Which may have little to do with the Patriots themselves.

If you remember, the Patriots were also reportedly interested in Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson leading into the 2018 NFL Draft. They actually passed on two opportunities to draft Jackson at picks 23 and 31. Jackson ended up with the Ravens at 32.

Even this year, there’s already a report that the Pats are doing “serious homework” on Utah State QB Jordan Love. Well it’s the quarterback position, so I hope that any prospect drawing their interest would be the subject of homework that is serious.

The speculation has been injected with plenty of intrigue now that the Patriots need to look toward the future at the most important position on the field. They’d almost certainly have to trade up into the top half of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft if they really want Herbert that badly. So if that happens … fireworks.

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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 matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.