As the New England Patriots approach the 2023 NFL trade deadline at 1-5, some around the National Football League are wondering whether they’d actually be sellers.
According to Jeremy Fowler at ESPN.com, league execs are “curious about” a number of players that could be real trade chips for the Patriots – but “teams are torn” on whether they’d actually get rid of said players. One league exec reportedly went on the record as saying: “[The Patriots] are a team that will say players are available but then will pull back.”
That doesn’t sound particularly surprising, that Bill Belichick would be as competitive in trade negotiations as he is on the football field. But at the same time, it’s literally been decades since the Pats were in this kind of spot before the trade deadline. During the Tom Brady years, it was always either “buy” or “stand pat.” This is the first time since perhaps Belichick’s first season in 2000 that a major sale is plausible.
The players apparently drawing curiosity from other teams ahead of the trade deadline aren’t surprising, either: linebacker Josh Uche, safety Kyle Dugger, and offensive lineman Michael Onwenu are young, proven NFL talents in their contract years. Defensive tackle Christian Barmore was also named, but he’s in his third season with one more year of team control before he heads for free agency.