New England Patriots

  • At best, the Patriots will be a .500 team heading into this year’s NFL trade deadline. Does that mean they’ll be sellers come Nov. 1? It appears teams around the league think so.

    Over the last two days, multiple reports have indicated the Patriots have been getting calls from other teams that are trying to trade for a range of players on their roster. That includes multiple offensive starters.


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  • Wednesday afternoon, Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston reported the Patriots have received calls on all of their veteran wide receivers. That includes DeVante ParkerKendrick BourneNelson Agholor, and Jakobi Meyers.

    Agholor and Bourne have been involved in trade rumors since the summer. There’s some redundancy in the skillsets of Agholor and rookie Tyquan Thornton, which would make him expendable. Perry identified that Agholor “maybe most likely to go,” but his $9 million base salary could be a roadblock in getting a deal done, despite his contract expiring at the end of the season.

    Bourne has seen his role decrease significantly since training camp. His team friendly deal – which runs through the end of next season – was posed as the reason he didn’t get dealt then.

    Parker and Meyers are more interesting cases. The Patriots gave up a third round pick to get Parker (and a fifth) back in the spring. Like Bourne, he’s on a very team-friendly deal that runs through the end of next season. If the Patriots think they can turn things around quickly, he’s still a player that can help them. The recent investment could give them pause as well.

    Meyers has been the team’s leading receiver the last three seasons, and is growing into a leader on and off the field for the Patriots’ offense. He is on an expiring contract, and set to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time this spring.

    The Patriots could extend him, but if they don’t plan to they could also explore the opportunity to get something in return instead of just letting him walk. If they do go that route, it’s worth noting this year’s draft class is expected to be a deep one when it comes to slot receivers.

  • FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 09: Jakobi Meyers #16 of the New England Patriots reacts after a catch during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 09: Jakobi Meyers #16 of the New England Patriots reacts after a catch during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images)

  • Teams are calling about players beyond the Patriots’ wide receivers too. According to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, teams have also checked in on the availability of offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn.

    Wynn’s case is another interesting one. The 26-year-old is on an expiring contract, currently playing on the option year of his rookie contract. He’s struggled this season after moving from left tackle to right tackle back in the spring.

    Yet with a lack of tackle depth around the league, Wynn may still have value to teams looking at the full picture of his career, not just what he’s done this year playing out of position. Again, this could be a chance for the Patriots to get something for a player on an expiring deal instead of letting the player walk.

    It’s not quite that simple though. If the Patriots were to move on from Wynn, the move would strain their already-thin tackle depth. When Wynn was inactive last week due to a shoulder injury, the team dressed just two tackles in Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon. The team has no other primary tackles currently on the active roster or the practice squad. Yodny Cajuste, who is currently on IR and has been designated to return, is the only other player at the position currently with the team. If the team was to move Wynn, adding another tackle in some form would be a must.

  • Sep 18, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (76) exits the field after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 18, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (76) exits the field after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

  • Teams have also called about running back Damien Harris, according to PFF’s Doug Kyed. Harris returned from a hamstring injury last week, but played a limited role.

    Harris’ perceived availability may be tied to the growth of second-year running back Rhamondre Stevenson. With Harris banged up, Stevenson has taken on an increased role in the Patriots’ offense and risen to the occasion. Over the last three weeks the Patriots have run 169 total offensive plays, with Stevenson touching the ball 70 times in that span. That’s about 41 percent of the time.

    That increased workload though may be incentive for the Patriots not to trade Harris. In the modern NFL, bell cow backs often tend to be less impactful later in the year, and have shorter careers. With the size and speed of defenders, backs take a significant beating and the risk of injury is high at the position.

    It’s no doubt that Stevenson has the potential to be a gamebreaker for the Patriots in the long-term. But putting too much on his plate in just his second NFL season could shorten the window where he’s that kind of player. Having a platoon player is a smart long-term move. Right now, the Patriots seem hesitant to play either of their rookie running backs Kevin Harris or Pierre Strong, and the only other running back on the roster – J.J. Taylor – has been passed over for opportunities by both rookies. Short of giving one of those three players a bigger role, holding onto Harris may be the right long-term move whether they plan on being competitive or not, even though he’s on an expiring contract.

  • PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots runs the ball during the second half in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

    PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 18: Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots runs the ball during the second half in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

  • The calls aren’t just coming on the offensive side of the ball though. Kyed added teams have also called about safety Jabrill Peppers.

    This past April, the Patriots signed Peppers to a one-year deal a couple weeks into free agency. He seemed like an ideal fit for a defensive back group that prides itself on versatility. Coming off a torn ACL, he was eased in to training camp and didn’t really start becoming involved in the defense until late August, but a full role still hasn’t developed on defense.

    To this point, Peppers has played just 33 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps, a number buoyed by a 63-percent usage rate in Week 3 when Kyle Dugger was hurt. He’s played 53 percent of the team’s special teams snaps.

    With Dugger now banged up once again, the Patriots may be inclined to hold onto Peppers. But a team with a bigger role in mind may be willing to give up more for him – even overpay. After all, Peppers’ last fully healthy season in 2020 was the best of his NFL career.

    The important thing to remember with all of this is these reports are simply about calls coming in, not going out of Foxborough. To this point, and going back to the summer in some cases, there’s been no indication the Patriots are shopping any of these players. To what extent the Patriots have actually considered any of the offers remains a mystery.

    Clearly, there’s enough interest around the league for the Patriots to be big-time sellers if that’s the route they want to go. Will that end up being the plan? We’ll have our answer in less than a week.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.