Examining how Patriots will approach Tuesday’s trade deadline

Ryan Hannable
October 29, 2019 - 6:00 am

Will the Patriots make a trade by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline?

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That is one of the biggest questions in New England as the team prepares for its Week 9 matchup against the Ravens.

Of course, the Patriots already swung a deal for wide receiver Mohamed Sanu last week, but there are varying reports when it comes to if the team is in fact done or not.

“I am sure anything is possible. It’s hard to say,” Bill Belichick said Monday on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria. “You need two teams to trade. I don’t know if anything would happen, but things could change in a hurry. We traded for (Aqib) Talib and that trade happened in less than 10 minutes between 3:50 and 4 o’clock, or whatever it was. You could ask me that question at 2 in the afternoon and I would have said I don’t think so, but at 3:55 it looked a lot different. You just, you never know. You never know. 

“And personally, I haven’t been that involved in it. Other members of our staff in the personnel department, obviously Nick (Caserio) and some other people in pro personnel talk to various teams, or they call us, or whatever. Who knows. … We’ll see.”

Another factor is the Patriots’ cap space situation. As of Monday night, they have roughly $2.8 million to work with, which isn’t a lot by any stretch of the imagination.

So, if the Patriots are to make a deal, it likely will only be for a player who is on his rookie deal or on a minimal contract. With that being said, it would be a relative surprise to see a deal actually materialize before the end of the day Tuesday.

What position could it even be for?

Wide receiver? The Patriots just added Sanu and also have first-rounder N’Keal Harry eligible to be activated off injured reserve this week. How many new receivers can Tom Brady work with? It just doesn’t seem to make sense to add another wide out at this point, and it isn’t like the offense is in horrible shape at the position following the moves of last week.

Offensive line? Obviously the unit isn’t anything close to what it was a year ago due to players being lost to retirement, injury, etc., but adding a player up front is likely going to cost more than what the Patriots have against the cap. Also, like Harry at wide receiver, the team has second-year left tackle Isaiah Wynn eligible to begin practicing this week and return Nov. 24 against the Cowboys. Could a versatile lineman on a low salary be beneficial? Sure, but that seems hard to find.

Tight end? O.J. Howard from the Buccaneers has been brought up a ton of late, especially because the first-round pick is still on his rookie deal and he hasn’t had much of a role in Bruce Ariens’ offense this season. But, Tampa Bay reportedly wants a first-round pick for him. Does it really make sense for New England to do that, especially when it already dealt its second-round pick for Sanu? As for what the Patriots currently have, it isn’t great with Benjamin Watson, Matt LaCosse (injured knee), Ryan Izzo (concussion) and Eric Tomlinson. A move would certainly help the position, but it the offense will survive if one isn't made.

Through eight games, the Patriots offense is what it is. One more addition isn’t going to drastically change things, which for that reason combined with the lack of cap space, makes an acquisition prior to the deadline most likely not happening. 

It could also be viewed as the Patriots already have their trade deadline additions on the roster in Sanu, Harry, and Wynn. Two first-round picks coming off injured reserve are pretty solid adds.

Given all the rumors leading up to Tuesday’s deadline, the potential for a ton of action around the league is there. Just don’t be surprised if it doesn’t involve the Patriots.

Related: Tom Brady responds to speculation about future: 'I don’t know why all of this is coming up'