The NFL Trade Deadline is Tuesday at 4:00 PM EST. The “Witching Hour” comes on All Hallows Eve. What will the Patriots do. Buy, Sell or Do Nothing! Here is what I would do.
This season is over and the players in the locker room know it. With any of these trades it’s collecting draft capital to move up the draft board to take the players the Patriots GM (whoever that may be other than Bill Belichick) wants.
Josh Uche I would trade. However, I don’t know if they can trade a player that is hurt. He is the most likely player to get dealt. Uche is not a full-time player, just a situational pass rusher and only plays 38% of the Defensive snaps. When Matt Judon is not on the other side of the formation Uche cannot beat the extra attention, he receives. If he is one-on-one, he can be an effective pass rusher. He is a Free Agent next year and if they could get a 5th round pick for him the Patriots should grab it. Next season the Patriots have a ton of cap space available but also have a lot of positions to fill. They will be signing Free Agents and thus losing players to Free Agency without any compensation under the Leagues compensation rules.
Lawrence Guy is on the wrong side of 30. He is now 33 and has some value as a run stuffer / space eater. The Patriots will not get much for him (probably a 7th rd. pick). A team that has a hole to fill would like to have a veteran like Guy. The Patriots might also do him a favor and trade him to a team that is contention and has playoff possibilities. He is a Free Agent next year and unlikely to be re-signed by the Patriots. Because he isn’t signed for next year, he won’t bring in more than a 7th Rd pick.
Adrian Phillips has been a solid player for the Patriots, but he has seen his minutes diminish with emergence of Jabrill Peppers, Kyle Dugger and Marte Mapu at the SS position. Phillips filled in for Ja’Whaun Bentley when he was hurt against Miami. He could help a team looking for a solid veteran Safety. He is another player the team might deal to a contender. For the same reason Guy would get a low-end draft pick as compensation, that also applies to Phillips. A 6th or 7th is all they would receive.
JuJu Smith-Schuster has a big contract and is signed beyond this year. Moving a bad contract could be difficult. Also, with the injury status of Davante Parker and Kendrick Bourne, the Patriots may need Smith-Schuster. If a team came calling, I would trade Smith-Schuster just to get out from under that contract.
Mike Gesicki has done nothing this year. I think Bill O’Brien is misusing Gesicki’s talents. He is not a TE. He is a big, slot receiver in the mold of Travis Kelce. The Patriots have taken advantage of his size mismatch just once, for a TD last week. Gesicki has the quickness to be an effective possession receiver. I wouldn’t give Gesicki away and would require at least a 4th rd pick as compensation. Gesicki is on a one-year contract with the Patriots and will be a Free Agent next year.
Jalen Mills is not a safety, he is too slow. The Patriots didn’t acquire a safety this past off-season knowing Devin McCourty was likely going to retire. Mills is a veteran CB that could add some depth to a team in drastic need for a CB. I’m not advocating that Mills be dealt, just that if another team makes an offer, the Patriots should consider it and take the pick.
Ezekiel Elliott has performed very well but, in my opinion, has been under-utilized. Elliott still has something in his tank. A team in contention can use a player like Elliott, especially if they have lost their workhorse back. Elliott could fetch a low draft pick as he in not signed beyond this season.
Mac Jones is not the quarterback of the future for the Patriots. The Patriots have destroyed what was once a very promising young QB. Jones is suffering from PTSD. Just like those young men that we send off to war, Jones has been subjected to a beating and battering that many young QB’s must face on teams void of talent. After a very good 1st year in the league the combination of Bill Belichick’s choices as Offensive Coordinators (Judge and Patricia) combined with his incompetence as the General Manager of the team has turned Jones into a cowering mush.
It became obvious to me that Jones is shell shocked and afraid to make a mistake. He doesn’t possess the arm strength required to make throws outside the numbers. Jones has regressed in his ability to read defenses. He has a big problem reading blitzes before the ball is snapped and doesn’t make the proper adjustments. Bill O’Brien has not corrected Jones from throwing off his back foot or holding onto the ball too long. The critical INT he threw Sunday was another throw off his back foot and it was a wounded duck begging to get picked off. He should have stepped into the throw, on a line and thrown it much earlier to an open Bourne.
If another team like the Minnesota Vikings who just lost Kirk Cousins to a Torn Achilles, offered a 3rd round pick, I would jump at taking it.
Kyle Dugger had a game last week like we all expected he would have on a regular basis. The former 2nd round draft pick had an Interception, a sack and 9 tackles which led the team. I would extend Dugger’s contract now and not allow him to reach Free Agency. I know it takes two parties to agree, but I think it’s an important message to tell the team that any player can get a second contract from the Patriots.
Trent Brown is motivated by getting another contract. Last week he was the #1 OT in the league according to Pro Football Focus. Brown was 2nd this week. He is too valuable to trade away. He is another player that should be re-signed with weight clauses in his contract. I can’t believe I am writing this. I don’t like that Brown stays away from off season workouts. He does nothing to help build comradery and a cohesive working unit with other O-linemen. He is still out of shape and that shows in the 4th quarter, and he is run down and not as effective a blocker as he is at the start of the game. When you get the good Trent Brown, he is awesome and a road grader.
Hunter Henry should be re-signed. He is a team Captain and a quiet leader on the team. He has not had the year he expected but a lot of that can be attributed to Mac Jones and the Offensive line.
Pharoah Brown has been a surprise at TE. He is making big catches and getting plenty of yards after catch. The 5th year player played for Bill O’Brien at Houston. He signed a one-year contract and deserves an extension.
Kendrick Bourne will be declared out for the season when the confirmation is made that he has a torn ACL. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network is reporting that Bourne has a torn ACL. I would sign Bourne to a one-year contract with a one-year club option. This will allow Bourne to rehab under the Patriots training staff. He was by far the best receiver on the team.
Michael Owenu would be the player I would try and resign. However, Owenu has been drastically underpaid for the last few years and he is looking for a big payday. He is going to have to get it somewhere else. The Patriots don’t pay their Offensive Linemen dating back to the days of John Hannah and Leon Gray.
Myles Bryant I would resign. He has been a valuable reserve. He is nothing more than a sub, but he is a player they signed as an Undrafted Free Agent and has made himself into a contributor on this team. He shouldn’t cost much and having a player like him to go along with the Jones boys and Gozalez would go a long way to make this a respectable team again.
Trade Targets – None! The Patriots should not be buyers in this market. This will be a total rebuild. Over the course of the next 9 games, we will see who really wants to continue playing the in NFL and who the quitters are.
Promotion Looks like Tyquan Thornton and Kayshon Boutte will be let out of the doghouse to replace DeVante Parker (Concussion) and Kendrick Bourne (Season Ending ACL Tear). Look for the Patriots to have a steady parade of Wide Receivers through the building to add to the Practice Squad. As for Street Free Agents out there, I don’t think Julian Edelman is walking through that door.
Will Grier Its time to see what he can do. Grier is a Free Agent next year and I want to see if he can hold the fort until a new QB is acquired either through the draft or the trade market. If they draft a QB, make him sit the year and learn what it’s like to be a professional QB. Don’t throw him to the wolves like they did Mac Jones. Throwing a rookie out there like that is never a good thing.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary