Tag Archives: trade

Patriots Add Depth To DL/STs WIth Trade With Seattle for Cassius Marsh

Steve Balestrieri
September 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm ET

The Patriots on Saturday have been wheeling and dealing. They made their third trade of the day, sending the 7th round draft pick they received from Seattle in the Justin Coleman deal back to Seattle for DE Cassius Marsh.

Marsh is a 6’4, 270-pound defensive end who is entering his fourth season in the NFL. He was drafted in the 4th Round of the 2014 NFL Draft from UCLA. He had his best season a year ago with 22 tackles and three sacks.  He’s also a core Special Team’s player, appearing in nearly 80 percent of the Seahawks’ STs snaps in 2016.

Pete Carroll was using him as both an interior and edge pass rusher. Marsh got kudos from teammate Michael Bennett earlier this summer as one of the most improved members of the defense.

In essence, now the trade works out as Coleman for Marsh…another win-win for both teams. This will help boost the depth of the Patriots edge players and it seems like Marsh’s role will take over that of Geneo Grissom.


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What Does the Marquis Flowers Trade Mean for the Patriots

Steve Balestrieri
August 30, 2017 at 6:30 am ET

The Patriots addressed their depth at linebacker and on special teams on Tuesday morning when it was announced that they traded a 7th round draft pick for LB Marquis Flowers from the Cincinnati Bengals.

Flowers was drafted by the Bengals in the 6th Round (212th Overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Arizona. The 6’3, 245-pound Flowers is an athletic player who is more comfortable outside on the edge than he is inside. He can cover and has the range to run with more athletic players. He’s been used as strictly a special teams’ player for the Bengals, playing only two snaps on defense last year. With their Special Teams’ standouts having been hurt this summer, including Harvey Langi, Shea McClellin, and Geneo Grissom, Flowers will step right into a key role right away. That was apparent in Tuesday’s practice as he stepped into the starting ST’s unit.

Why is this move significant? Well, that depends on your perspective. With many of the special team’s players banged up and facing the Kansas City Chiefs with the dangerous return game with Tyreek Hill, the coaching staff will want their most athletic players on the field. But this may go even deeper than that.

This may be a signal that the Patriots are planning on cutting their ties to two of their more dynamic special teams’ players in Brandon Bolden and Jordan Richards. Bolden has been a standout STs performer for years but is just in a position that is log jammed with talent.

Richards, on the other hand, has been a disappointment. They’ve tried him at different positions on the defense and he hasn’t been able to make a positive impression. This could be a signal that one or the other, perhaps both may be on the block.

But for Flowers, he’s young, athletic and can step into a core special teams’ role immediately. And he’s able to step up and play some defense as well.

While many on social media were thinking that Flowers is a camp body for the 4th preseason game, I disagree. I think he’s pretty much a lock. They need some athleticism on their STs units with KC coming into town. And he’ll give them that and be able to play some defense as well in the team’s sub-packages. The Patriots have made a trade, albeit a minor one but one which will have some impact, at least in the first few weeks of the season.

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NFL announces compensatory picks; New England Patriots 2016 draft slots set

John Morgan
March 11, 2016 at 8:15 pm ET

On Friday the National Football League announced the allocation of 33 compensatory draft picks for the 2016 NFL Draft, which will be held April 28-30. The New England Patriots received the maximum four compensatory picks: one in the third round, and three in the sixth round. With that news the Pats slots in April’s NFL draft has been set.


Compensatory draft picks are allotted to teams that lost an unrestricted free agent to another team in the previous off-season. Although the formula has never been made public, it has been determined that it is based primarily on the compensation that the player received from his new club, along with an adjustment for playing time and a smaller adjustment for post-season honors. Players who were released by their former team do not count in the formula, nor do players who sign with a new club after June 1.


Last year the Patriots lost cornerback Darrelle Revis in an obvious but not penalized textbook tampering scenario. The Pats also lost defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, corner Brandon Browner, running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, and linebackers Akeem Ayers and Jonathan Casillas in free agency. The only compensatory qualified free agent that New England signed was defensive end Jabaal Sheard.


The third round pick was obviously for Revis, and there was some thought that Browner’s contract (3 years, $15,000,000) would fetch the Pats a fifth round selection, but that turned out to not be the case. Here is a rundown of the picks that the Patriots received:

third round, 96th overall
sixth round, 208th overall
sixth round, 214th overall
sixth round, 221st overall


With the compensatory draft picks now known, the initial arsenal of draft picks that the Patriots own has been finalized. Earlier this year the NFL decided to change the rule compensatory could not be traded. The fact that the league decided to implement this rule change next year rather than in 2016 surely has nothing to do with the fact that the Patriots would be receiving several comp picks (/sarcasm).

2nd round: 60th overall
3rd round: 91st overall
3rd round: 96th overall (compensatory pick, cannot be traded)
4th round: 127th overall
6th round: 196th overall (from Houston)
6th round: 208th overall (compensatory pick, cannot be traded)
6th round: 214th overall (compensatory pick, cannot be traded)
6th round: 221st overall (compensatory pick, cannot be traded)
7th round: 243rd overall (from Houston)
7th round: 250th overall

– The first round pick (29th overall) was stolen by Roger Goodell in the league’s attempt to smear Tom Brady the Patriots, and give the commissioner full power over the players and the NFLPA.
– The fifth round pick (154th overall) was traded away to the Houston Texans on September 17, 2015 for WR Keshawn Martin and Houston’s sixth round pick (196th overall).
– The sixth round pick (204th overall) was traded away to the Chicago Bears on September 29, 2015 for LB Jon Bostic.
– A seventh round pick (243rd overall) was acquired from the Houston Texans in exchange for QB Ryan Mallett on August 31, 2014.


Breaking Down the Akiem Hicks Trade, Belichick Continues Roster Building

Steve Balestrieri
October 1, 2015 at 6:04 am ET


The Patriots made a flurry of roster moves on Wednesday just after the final bye week practice, releasing one player from the active roster LB Dekoda Watson, and three more from the practice squad WR Kenbrell Thompkins, DL Joe Vellano and OL Chris Barker.

But the big news of the day was the trade the team made with the New Orleans Saints, trading TE Michael Hoomanawanui and receiving DL Akiem Hicks in return.

Hoomanawanui had fallen down the depth chart with the arrival of free agent Scott Chandler and the trade that brought TE/T Michael Williams from the Lions. Now the fourth tight end, Hoomanawanui was a healthy inactive for the Jacksonville game.

He has good blocking skills and decent hands in the passing game but never was a big factor there. His best year was in 2013 with Gronkowski out, he caught 13 passes. He did bring value in his versatility however, he could line up as a traditional tight end, H-back or as a fullback. New Orleans, with a need of in-line blocking tight end depth made the deal with the Patriots for the 6’4, 260 pound six-year veteran. Hooman was always a valuable work-pail type of player that teams love to have on the bottom of the roster.

But this trade was really about Hicks, the talented but inconsistent defensive lineman. Taken by the Saints in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Hicks’ best season was in 2013 when he tallied 4.5 sacks and 76 tackles.

He has some positional versatility and will probably be used as an inside three-technique defensive tackle by the Patriots. That is where his best work was done with the Saints, although he played some five-technique there as well. It was the move to defensive end this season where he struggled.

Hicks dropped 20 pounds this past offseason in an attempt to add a bit more of quickness to his game and other than a minor ankle injury, had a solid training camp for the Saints. But the coaching staff there had lost faith in him and his playing time dwindled. It was a quick fall from grace for the 25-year old, where just a year ago he was considered one of the more important players on the defensive line.

But after playing in nearly 70 percent of the snaps in the opener, the coaches were replacing him with rookies Tyeler Davison and Bobby Richardson more and more as his snap counts plummeted to 44 and 43 percent.

Perhaps a change of scenery and a chance to start fresh will ignite the 6’5, 324 pound Hicks. Rather than the traditional two-gap run stuffer that the Patriots have favored in the past, Hicks, when at the top of his game is more of a penetrator, a guy who can use his quickness off the line to disrupt plays in the backfield and push the pocket.

He has plenty of upside, now the coaches have to bring it out of him, Bill Belichick has always had a great touch in using a player to fullest potential by playing to his strengths. And that would be as an inside penetrator who is very solid in the running game.

He’ll join Dominique Easley, Malcom Brown, Sealver Siliga and Alan Branch at the rotation inside on the defensive line. This move will further strengthen the front seven and provide another good run stuffing presence along with a player that can be a factor in the pass rush as well.

This trade was a good one for New England, Hoomanawanui was obviously not going to be a big factor in the Patriots offense moving forward and so the cost of taking a flyer on the former 3rd round pick Hicks was minimal. Plus…if Hicks does leave after the season, the Patriots would be eligible for a compensatory pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

These moves show that, despite being on a bye week, the work never stops and especially in the area of team building, the Patriots under Belichick have always tinkered with the roster.

This will not be the last move the team makes before the November 3 trade deadline. I would expect the Patriots to be active in search of more players that they feel can put them in the best position to win this season.

The amount of turnover of the roster is amazing; the Patriots Super Bowl winning roster of just a few months ago has changed dramatically. As our salary cap guru Miguel (@Patscap) pointed out on Twitter, just 30 players from the 53 who beat the Seahawks are currently on the roster.

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Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Reactions from New Orleans to Akiem Hicks being traded to Patriots

John Morgan
September 30, 2015 at 9:00 pm ET

On Wednesday it was announced that the New England Patriots acquired defensive lineman Akiem Hicks from the New Orleans Saints in exchange for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. Hicks is a 6’5″ 324 pound 25-year old in his fourth year in the NFL; he was drafted by the Saints in the third round (89th overall out of Regina (as in Saskatchewan, Canada) in the 2012 draft. Hicks was actually the Saints’ first selection in that draft; the second round pick was stolen by Roger Goodell for Bountygate and the first round pick was previously traded to the Patriots when New Orleans took running back Mark Ingram; the Pats ended up with running back Shane Vereen and were also able to trade up for Chandler Jones with that exchange.

Here is some commentary and reactions on the trade from The Big Easy – but first, an excerpt from his bio on the Saints’ website:

NFL CAREER – Possessing the size and strength to be able to handle double teams along the defensive line, the club’s third round draft choice in 2012 remained consistent in 2014. Hicks, who possesses the ability to play on both the outside and on the interior, played in 15 games with 14 starts at left defensive end opposite Cameron Jordan and finished second among Saints defensive linemen in tackles with 58 stops (36 solo) while adding two sacks and two passes defensed.

2014 – Played in 15 games with 14 starts at left defensive end before being placed on reserve/injured prior to season finale. Totaled 58 tackles (36 solo), two sacks and two passes defensed…

2013 – Started all 16 regular season games and both postseason contests at left defensive end opposite Cameron Jordan. In the regular season, led the New Orleans defensive line with 72 tackles (35 solo), while ranking third on the team with 4.5 sacks, dragging down QBs Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton. In the postseason, added seven tackles (four solo) and half a sack of Eagles QB Nick Foles with Jordan…


The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on September 21 that Hicks said he was benched versus the Buccaneers, a game that New Orleans lost at home after being favored by ten points.

New Orleans Saints starting defensive end Akiem Hicks played only 28 snaps in a 26-19 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Hicks was fairly blunt with the reasoning.

“I got benched,” Hicks said. “Going into the third (quarter).”

Hicks said he couldn’t say the reasoning behind the benching until he met with Saints coach Sean Payton that afternoon.

Payton, when asked later, said Hicks wasn’t benched.”

“It wasn’t benched. I told him, hey, we’re going to play some other guys here,” Payton said. “And that’s what we did.”

Payton said rotating defensive linemen is fairly typical, and the Saints have had a rotation throughout the preseason and into the regular season. Undrafted rookie free agent Bobby Richardson played 40 snaps on defense Sunday.


WWLTV notes that the trade came just after the Saints pushed some of Drew Breescap figure into the future to free up space this year, and apparently caught reporters by surprise.

The trade occurred several hours after it was announced that the team had restructured quarterback Drew Brees’ contract to free up some money for this season.

The trade must have occurred suddenly because reporters said Hicks was in the locker room Wednesday as normal. Hicks admitted he was ‘benched’ last week as the team continues to struggle with a lack of a pass rush.


Katherine Terrell of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the Saints are looking for help at tight end; while I understand that there is a void with Jimmy Graham now in Seattle, is Hooman and his 40 receptions in five-plus years the answer?

In a 2013 game against the Saints, (Hoomanawanui) had four catches for 57 yards.

Payton was asked on Wednesday morning if the Saints were still looking for ways to improve the roster and specifically mentioned the tight end position. Hoomanawanui will be the third tight end on the roster next to Ben Watson and Josh Hill.

“Yes, I think you’re still constantly paying attention to the areas, you know were still short at tight end and that’s an area that concerns me,” Payton said. “With regards to typically, we’ve always had three with one fullback, but there have been weeks where we may dress an extra fullback, but we’re right there that’s an area we’ve looked at and will continue to do so, but yeah I think that process doesn’t stop.”

Hicks, a 2012 third round draft pick out of Regina, was in the final year of his rookie contract and was set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. He was the last remaining member of the 2012 draft class.


Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune is of the opinion that this is part of a larger ‘housecleaning’ (is that a new way of saying ‘rebuilding’?) and that Hicks had ‘fallen out of favor’ (i.e., was in the doghouse).

The trade of Hicks is not all that surprising when you consider his diminishing role in the defense as the Saints turned to rookies Tyeler Davison and Bobby Richardson in recent weeks. Hicks’ snap count dwindled from 68 percent in Week 1 to 44 percent in Week 2 to 43 percent last week in Carolina.

The talented but inconsistent Hicks clearly had fallen out of favor with the team’s staff and brain trust.

Still, his precipitous fall from grace is startling when you consider just 13 months ago he was considered a lynchpin along the Saints’ defensive front.

The Saints have been in the market for a third tight end throughout the offseason. They have carried only two on the roster this season and desperately need to improve their in-line blocking at the position.

Duncan then turns his sights on the New Orleans’ scouting department – though to be fair, not with the venom we are all too familiar with in the Boston media.

The transaction further indicts the Saints’ college scouting department, which was overhauled in the offseason. Hicks was the only remaining player from the team’s five-man 2012 draft class still on the roster.

In the five NFL Drafts after winning the Super Bowl in 2009, the Saints selected 28 players. After the Hicks trade, six (21 percent) now remain on the roster. They are: Cam Jordan and Mark Ingram (2011); Kenny Vaccaro, Terron Armstead and John Jenkins (2012); and Brandin Cooks (2014).

By comparison, the Green Bay Packers still have 20 of the 45 players (44 percent) they selected in the 2010 to 2014 drafts.


Here are Hicks’ 2015 snap counts with commentary from a Saints blogger:

Week 1 at Cardinals: 40 (of 61) snaps; 14 run, 26 pass

In keeping with the rest of the defensive line (other than Cam Jordan), it was a somewhat inconsistent showing from Hicks on Sunday. #76 made a strong start on Sunday, giving RG Jonathan Cooper significant difficulties on several early plays. However, as the game went on Cooper improved and Hicks faded. Despite often having potentially favorable one-on-one matchups in the pass rush, Hicks only got to (Carson) Palmer’s vicinity twice on the day, too often allowing the Arizona QB to “step up” and avoid the edge rush from Jordan/Kikaha.

Week 2 vs. Bucs: 28 (of 66) snaps; 21 run, 7 pass

A disappointing day on a reduced count for Akiem Hicks in his hybrid DE/DT role. Hicks was largely anonymous in the running game – his only contribution being the occasional absorption of double teams up front. Otherwise he was largely controlled by NCAA D3 rookie RG Ali Marpet and Indy reject RT Gosder Cherilus. Hicks’ pass-rushing was non-existent, recording no pressures, hits or sacks on the day. Undrafted rookie Bobby Richardson outplayed #76 against the run, culminating in Hicks being benched mid-Q3.

Week 3 at Panthers: 28 (of 66) snaps: 14 run, 14 pass

For the second consecutive week Akiem Hicks found himself on a reduced snap count and, for the second consecutive week, was relatively anonymous on the field. He spent most of his snaps lined up inside as a DT rather than a DE. Hicks flashed his bull-rushing ability inside when fighting off a C/G double-team block in the 4th quarter, but couldn’t get to Newton. Otherwise Hicks was largely controlled by the Panthers, showing very little of the explosive ability and turn of foot we’d been hearing about in the offseason. #76 had one stop on the day.


Patriots Acquire Saunders in Trade with Saints

Robert Alvarez
September 1, 2015 at 2:40 pm ET

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter , the New England Patriots completed a trade for second-year return specialist/receiver Jalen Saunders from the New Orleans Saints for a conditional draft pick.

Saunders, who played college football at Oklahoma for two seasons, tied a school record with 15 catches for 181 yards and set a school record with eight catches in a quarter in one game versus Notre Dame.

He was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Jets in 2014, but was released by the Jets in September and connected with the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks practice squads before being signed to the New Orleans Saints 53-man roster in November that season.

In nine career NFL games with the Jets and Saints, Saunders has three returns for 139 yards, the longest being his 99 yard return against Atlanta; The first of his career.

It is unknown what his role may be but one can speculate Saunders was acquired to provide insurance and protection to fellow punt/kick returners Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman.