Buy or sell? It’s something Cam Ventura went over last week with the Patriots at 3-4. Now, Week 8’s win over the Chargers has given Bill Belichick that choice. Had New England dropped to 3-5, a trade would seem unlikely. However, 4-4 with a playoff spot in reach may just turn the corner for an urgent and hungry Patriots team.
There is still more to find out about who this team really is. A rookie quarterback with waves of new starters on both sides, growing pains have certainly surrounded the Patriots. Perhaps New England has begun to figure out a rhythm. 2-1 the past three weeks with at least 27 points scored, things are coming along for the Patriots. The starting offensive line has settled in, Damien Harris is rolling, and the defense has accounted for 7 interceptions, 5 sacks, and 2 fumbles in three games.
The Patriots currently have roughly $2.6 million in cap space, making trades difficult. However, Bill Belichick should be active on the phone come 4pm tomorrow. If the Patriots are gonna buy, it has to be for the long term.
WR Allen Robinson
With the year the Chicago Bears are having, they must be sellers. Allen Robinson is unlikely to stay beyond his franchise tag as it’s in the team’s best interest to get something for their star receiver. Robinson has only hauled in 26 passes for 271 yards and 1 touchdown. This is largely due to Chicago’s disfunction. Robinson, 28, is still one of the better receivers in the NFL and would be just what the Patriots offense needs. Unfortunately, in order the make this trade happen, the Patriots would need Robinson’s contract restructured while freeing up more cap space. With all the money spent in the offense already, it’s hard to imagine retaining Robinson.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
OBJ is in a similar position as Robinson. Beckham’s days in Cleveland should be over, it clearly has not worked. Beckham has little to no chemistry with Baker Mayfield and there has been nothing to see this changing. Odell Beckham Jr. and Bill Belichick have always shared a serious amount of respect for one another, but financially, the Patriots would need some favors in this deal.
CB Kyle Fuller
Fuller has been brought up often when it comes to trade talks. There’s no denying the talent, but the Patriots just traded a 31-year old corner over contract disputes. Hard to believe the Patriots can acquire and retain Fuller with J.C. Jackson’s situation still looming.
WR Jamison Crowder
Jamison Crowder has become a very underrated receiver in the NFL. No matter the quarterback or team, Crowder continues to be a tough slot receiver, who excels after the catch while being constantly targeted. He’s the odd man out in a crowded receiver room with a rookie splitting snaps with him. Although New England needs more of a true X rather than a slot receiver, Crowder would be a strong exception.
WR Brandin Cooks
Let’s get another Foxboro reunion. Cooks’ time in New England was short-lived, but perhaps Patriots fans were spoiled wanting Cooks out after year 1. Cooks gets 1,000 yards in any team, any system, any quarterback, He’s a top-15 receiver in the league and may only cost less than $2 million. While Houston may be reluctant to trade him, this would be the move to make.
CB A.J. Bouye
Three straight years on a new team, Bouye still produces at a near elite level. Bouye has yet to give up a touchdown for Carolina, allowing a passer rating of 82.7, and only 143 yards. Bouye also signed a cheap two-year, $7 million dollar deal.
Players to Avoid
Not worth the capital. Damien Harris is starting to become a force behind this offensive line, Rhamondre Stevenson and J.J. Taylor have worked their way out of the doghouse. The Patriots should keep building these guys up.
The Patriots need a true #1 or at least a threatening wideout. Players like Tim Patrick, DeSean Jackson, Darius Slayton, Christian Kirk are all solid receivers in the league, but none of which will elevate the passing attack. The Patriots could use another weapon, but the team has enough to spread the ball around. Unless it’s a major needle mover, it’s not worth spending big.
(Photo by Eric J. Alder)