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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.