New England Patriots Trade Deadline Targets

A look at who may be coming and going for the Patriots before the NFL Tuesday trade deadline.

Do the New England Patriots have ant trade deadline targets? The upcoming trade deadline provides an opportunity for teams, such as the New England Patriots, to better themselves for the second half of the season. Some teams will look for the missing piece for a run to the playoffs, others for that final player to make them legitimate Super Bowl contenders, while others will look to sell and gain as much draft capital for an inevitable off-season rebuild.

The Patriots are somewhere in the middle of all this. They won’t be sellers looking to rebuild in the off-season and they are probably a few pieces away from being a force in the playoffs. They also have about $2.9 million in cap space according to Miguel Benzan; the unofficial Patriots cap space guru. The limited cap space means they will have to acquire someone on the cheap or add a player in their potential dealings to leave them with enough space to maneuver the rest of the season.

Here a few potential trade deadline targets for the Patriots:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 03: Greedy Williams #26 of the Cleveland Browns lines up for a play in the third quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 3, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Browns CB Greedy Williams

The Patriots secondary is in need of some help after Jonathan Jones was placed on IR earlier this week. Williams is a talented corner who has found himself buried on the Cleveland depth chart. A second round pick in 2019, Williams would come with a cheap contract but not in trade compensation. Making a move to solidify the position for the future may be worth the investment with J.C. Jackson an unrestricted free agent after this season.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – OCTOBER 17: Brandin Cooks #13 of the Houston Texans runs the ball during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Texans WR Brandin Cooks

Cooks is well traveled for being only 28 years old. If he were moved again this season it would be his fifth move in 8 years in the league. Cooks is on a relatively cheap contract this year (just over $1 million) but has a significant increase in cap hits the years following ($15.5 million cap hit in 2022, $5 million in 2023). Despite the low salary this year, Cooks has been a huge part of the Houston offense. The Patriots spent big at WR in free agency but getting a player familiar with the system and as talented as Cooks would be a definite upgrade over current WR4 N’Keal Harry. Cooks seemed upset that the Texans moved RB Mark Ingram earlier this week. Perhaps Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick can come to terms on a trade that makes all parties happy.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 29: Andy Isabella #17 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball after catching a pass against the New England Patriots during the first quarter of the game at Gillette Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Cardinals WR Andy Isabella

Isabella played his college ball at nearby UMass before being drafted by the Cardinals in 2019 in the second round. He just hasn’t been able to get much going for him in the desert and may benefit from a change of scenery. This off-season rumors of a player for player trade between the Pats and Cardinals surfaced in terms of underwhelming young WR’s: Isabella for Harry. Isabella is a speed threat that may compliment the other pieces of the New England passing game as a role player. Even better? He’s still on a manageable rookie contract and wouldn’t cost much in a trade.

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 19: Running back Phillip Lindsay #30 of the Houston Texans celebrates his first half touchdown catch with running back Rex Burkhead #28 in the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Texans RB Rex Burkhead

The Texans are in sell mode and the New England Patriots are looking for depth at running back. Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss has mentioned this one a few times, and when Reiss says something, it’s best for the rest of us to listen. The Patriots have seemed uncomfortable with their passing back situation since losing James White to injury in week 3. The return of Burkhead would help immensely to alleviating those fears while adding a steady veteran who knows the offense. Burkhead is on a one-year $1.5 million contract and wouldn’t cost much in a trade. Maybe a swap of late round picks does it.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – OCTOBER 10: Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers breaks a tackle from Jalen Thompson #34 of the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at State Farm Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

The player with the highest upside, Aiyuk has fallen out of favor in San Francisco for some undisclosed reason. Aiyuk, a first round pick last year, had an extremely productive rookie season. He finished 2020 with 838 receiving yards, 85 rushing yards, 107 return yards, and eight total touchdowns. The cost for acquiring him in a trade might be high as his ceiling and draft status may make the 49ers hesitant to trade him. The Patriots wouldn’t have to sweat his contract as he’s still on his rookie deal. Acquiring Aiyuk might be expensive but with Nelson Agholor on a two year deal, cementing the receiver room for the future will be worth it.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 27: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots avoids a tackle by Clelin Ferrell #96 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Raiders DE Clelin Ferrell

Ferrell was a top 10 pick in 2019 but has seen less and less playing time in recent years. Belichick loves acquiring high draft picks in the hopes of reclaiming their top tier talent. Ferrell has been squarely out of favor in Las Vegas even after John Gruden’s dismissal. The Patriots could use a bit more depth, and acquiring a previous top 10 talent could be their next heist. Ferrell was viewed as a reach during the draft but never doubt Belichick. He’s found the key to player’s talents in the past before.

With all the players the Patriots could potentially be interested in, there might be some player movement out of New England as well. Here are some players that could be moved before the deadline:

OLB/DE Chase Winovich

A fan favorite for his fun-loving personality and non-stop motor, Winovich has fallen out of favor with the Patriots coaching staff in recent years. Belichick favors players that do their assignment over free lancing (Jamie Collins anyone?) and that’s the rumor surrounding Winovich. A potential hurdle to any deal is Winovich’s being placed on IR.

CB Joejuan Williams

Drafted in the second round of the 2019 draft, Williams was supposed to be a tight end specialist. Buried on a talented depth chart his rookie year, Williams has never been able to gain momentum in his development. He was a healthy scratch two weeks ago against the Cowboys before a quietly steady performance against the Jets. Williams has struggled in the Patriots scheme and often gets grabby with receivers. Williams may not fetch much on his own but could be used in a package for another player.  

WR N’Keal Harry

Harry has been a disappointment since being Belichick’s first ever first round wide receiver in 2019. He showed flashes his rookie year but has been constantly derailed by injuries. He never found chemistry with Cam Newton last year and has struggled to gain consistent playing time this year. While the talent is undeniable, a fresh start may be in Harry’s best interest. Harry is already on the record for having requested a trade this off-season. Rumor is he can be had for the right price (which is supposedly very low).

The New England Patriots currently have limited cap space and a fairly solid roster. Basically, don’t expect them to be involved in any blockbusters before the deadline. These players were noted as potential targets, and interior o-line depth should also be high on the Patriots’ list. A buy-low move will probably happen either in or out after this weekend.

Author: Colby Fauser

Passionate Patriots fan, current Intensive Care Nurse. Played ball through college under multiple coaches now in NFL ranks. Love the game and love teaching it. Hope to spread some knowledge and laughs through writing!

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