New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 04: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Ty Anderson,

Staring down a virtual must-win against the Buffalo Bills after three straight losses, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is too busy to devote any energy to the upcoming trade deadline.

“That’s something that I’ll check in on with Nick [Caserio] here this week, but I usually don’t get too involved in that,” Belichick said Tuesday when asked about deadline movement. “That’s something that the communication on that really goes through the personnel department with Nick and his staff. I’d say, generally speaking, the coaches are pretty involved in their game preparations at this point in time until something becomes more of a realistic opportunity.

“So, we’ll kind of see how that goes.”

That’s of course a half-truth, you’d think; Caserio will run the reads on the trade market and potential moves, but Belichick will have his say, and the Patriots will go from there. There’s no shortage of potential moves to be made by the Patriots, too.

Should the Patriots decide to buy, it’s not hard to imagine that they’ll look at what the trade market has to offer on the offensive side of the ball. The Patriots are still looking at pass-catching options for Cam Newton, according to a recent report. Bengals wideout John Ross and Cleveland tight end David Njoku are two players we know are on the trade block, and league executives have started to wonder if the Falcons’ Julio Jones is on the trade block.

This is really the only play for the Patriots should they enter the market as buyers, really, as New England’s offense is averaging the 12th-fewest yards per game (their 197.2 passing yards per game are the fifth-worst in football) in all of the NFL. Their 19.2 points per game, meanwhile, ranks as the fourth-lowest average in football through six games this year.

The Pats dipped into this market last deadline, of course, acquiring Mohamed Sanu from the Falcons for a second-round pick.

On the flip side, All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore headlines the list of potential departures should the Patriots decide to sell. The Patriots have reportedly discussed the possibility of trading the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, too, as the 30-year-old is likely looking for another raise in 2021 and may not factor in the team’s plans as a result. But the merits of trading Gilmore to accelerate a potential rebuild in New England may spark its own debate, really, as the Patriots are allegedly unlikely to get a first-round pick in return for Gilmore, according to The MMQB’s Albert Breer.

But, again, Belichick had little to offer on either approach between now and next week’s deadline.

“I really don’t have a good sense on [the deadline] one way or the other,” Belichick admitted. “I’m sure that there’s some conversations out there. How close that would or wouldn’t be for us, I’m really not sure at this point.”

The Patriots’ deadline plans ahead of the Nov. 3 deadline may come fully into focus following Sunday’s game with the Bills, as a loss would put the Patriots three games behind the East-leading Bills in the loss column.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.