In their first season without Tom Brady this century, the New England Patriots have struggled. Currently, they are 2-4 this season, with wins over the Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders. However, the Patriots have lost three in a row and currently sit in third place in the AFC East.
With Cam Newton struggling, the Patriots benched him for Jarrett Stidham in their loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Could the Patriots decide to play Stidham for the rest of the season and trade Cam? Possibly, but finding a trade partner might be difficult. However, the Patriots will be sellers at next week’s deadline, so here are three possible trades they could make.
Trade #1: Julian Edelman and a 2021 sixth-round pick to the Green Bay Packers for a 2021 third-round pick
The Patriots are a long shot to make the playoffs at this point. Edelman is clearly frustrated with the situation and should welcome a trade. While Edelman is under contract through the 2021 season, the Patriots could release him and save $4 million in cap space in the offseason. If they are rebuilding, giving N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers as many snaps as possible is what’s best. Adding a top 100 pick for a player the Patriots will likely move on from in the offseason is an excellent value.
Meanwhile, the Packers are rolling along at 5-1 this season after destroying the Houston Texans on Sunday. However, outside of Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers has no wide receivers he trusts. Allen Lazard will come off injured reserve in the coming weeks, but that’s not enough help for a team with Super Bowl expectations. When Rodgers was at his best, he had Jordy Nelson on the outside and Randall Cobb in the slot. While a 34-year-old Edelman isn’t the same as Cobb in his prime, Rodgers should welcome the addition of former Super Bowl MVP.
Trade #2: Joe Thuney to the Chicago Bears for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional third-round pick
In the offseason, the Patriots placed the franchise tag on Thuney in hopes of working out a long term deal. However, that never happened, and the team has been open to trading him since the July 15 franchise tag deadline. The Patriots drafted a few young offensive linemen that have shown promise this season, including Michael Onwenu. If Thuney is expecting a massive long term deal, it likely won’t come from the Patriots.
For the Bears, they lost emerging star James Daniels to a torn pectoral injury last week and have a huge hole at left guard. In the mix for the NFC North division title, they should do what they can to replace Daniels. Thuney might end up being a rental or could turn into a long term starter at either guard spot for the Bears. The 2022 conditional third-round pick would only transfer to New England if Thuney is on the Bears’ roster come the start of the 2021 season. If he isn’t, the Patriots won’t receive a pick in 2022.
Trade #3: James White to the Tennessee Titans for a 2021 fifth-round pick
White is a free agent after this season, and if the Patriots are rebuilding, he likely won’t be back next year. Furthermore, J.J. Taylor produced when White missed time due to a personal issue. Taylor is averaging a solid 4.7 yards per carry as a rookie and showed an ability to be White’s replacement in limited snaps. Instead of losing White for at best a late-round compensatory pick in 2022, the Patriots would be wise to trade White to a Super Bowl contending team.
Besides Derrick Henry, the depth at running back is thin in Tennessee. Darrynton Evans has little to show so far in his rookie season while Jeremy McNichols has been solid in limited snaps. Furthermore, when the Titans go into their two minute or hurry-up offense, Henry leaves the field due to his limited skills in the passing game. White is arguably one of the best receiving backs in the league, and there are a lot of New England connections in Tennessee. For the cost of a very late fifth-round pick, the Titans can add a new wrinkle to their offense.
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