It could be a busy trade deadline for the (selling?) Patriots
October 30th, 2022
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 01: Damien Harris #37 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown with Jakobi Meyers #16 during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium on November 01, 2020 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Could the Patriots actually be sellers at the 2022 NFL trade deadline?
It remains to be seen if Bill Belichick and Director of Player Personnel Matt Groh really want to peel pieces off the Patriots’ 2022 roster, but a new report from Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero, and Mike Garafolo at the NFL Network suggests that they’re leaving the door open for that.
“The Patriots appear open to trading away some assets they could lose after the season in free agency while maintaining their competitiveness for 2022,” the report reads. So, if the Pats end up selling off players, it’ll likely be someone on track to hit the open market in 2023.
Some of those players have already been bandied about in trade rumors. But this report also makes it sound less likely that the Patriots would trade someone who is under team control for 2023, such as wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. Here’s a quick look at the impending free agents who would qualify as potential sellable pieces for Belichick…
WR Jakobi Meyers
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 11: Jakobi Meyers #16 of the New England Patriots rushes the football in the fourth quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Of all the Patriots’ 2023 free agents, Meyers would probably bring the most value. He’s on pace for 78 catches, 1,065 yards, and six touchdowns in 15 games. But for that reason, he also seems to be the least likely player who would actually be traded. Especially if the Pats want to maintain their competitiveness for 2022, as the report suggested.
At the same time, Meyers could be earning himself a nice contract in unrestricted free agency, so if the Patriots hold on to him, perhaps they’re willing to pay him.
RB Damien Harris
Nov 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) runs after a catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Rhamondre Stevenson has stepped up and played really well in Harris’ absence in recent weeks. But does that mean they’re willing to ride Stevenson like a bell cow for the rest of the season? Is Harris even tradable as he’s been dealing with a recent hamstring injury? Those questions could ultimately be what keeps Harris in New England, unless the Patriots value a sixth- or seventh-round pick that much.
OT Isaiah Wynn
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s a piece that the Patriots may feel they can sell off while maintaining competitiveness. Wynn has been dealing with a shoulder injury and missed Week 7 against the Bears. He’s active for Sunday against the Jets, but will he even play? He’s lost snaps to Marcus Cannon at right tackle in two of his last three games, and the Patriots also activated tackle Yodny Cajuste from injured reserve ahead of the game.
Considering Wynn’s injury concerns and regressed performance, he may also be hard to trade in the first place. But he could be at the point that he needs the proverbial Change of Scenery™, and perhaps move back to left tackle. A needy team could be calling for a rental.
WR Nelson Agholor
New England receiver Nelson Agholor, being brought down by Raven defender Kyle Hamilton, watches as his fumbled ball bounces away after a 28yard, 4th quarter run. The ball was recovered by the Ravens and ended Patriots chances of a comeback win. (The Providence Journal/Kris Craig)
Agholor also qualifies as a player that the Patriots could seemingly remove from their offense without hurting too much. The veteran receiver’s ball security has been a major issue in the first half of the season, and rookie Tyquan Thornton is speeding up the depth chart. With Meyers, Bourne, and DeVante Parker less likely to be traded, Agholor could be the odd man out if the Pats want to shorten the receiver rotation. One big holdup with Agholor could be that his new team would have to come up with about $5.7 million to pay him for the remainder of the season.
CB Jonathan Jones
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 25: Cornerback Jonathan Jones #31 of the New England Patriots runs after an interception during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Jones has been his usual solid self when on the field, but he’s worth bringing up here because he’s in a contract year. And as good of a career he’s had in New England after coming into the league as an undrafted free agent, the Patriots may be open to sending him to a team that’s willing to part with a decent draft pick for him.
Another possible factor into making Jones expendable: they have a talented rookie slot corner in Marcus Jones, in addition to Jack Jones emerging as a playmaker on the perimeter. Even if Jones is traded, he could be a candidate to sign back with the Pats next year. That would be a neat trick.
Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Raekwon McMillan (46) runs at New York Giants wide receiver Collin Johnson (15) during the first half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
Other impending Patriots free agents to know about ahead of the trade deadline:
LB Raekwon McMillan
LB Mack Wilson
S Jabrill Peppers
We find it hard to believe the Patriots could get anything for these guys in a trade, but strange things happen sometimes. Stay tuned for the 2022 NFL trade deadline, which falls at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.