Patriots could make trade before NFL free agency begins

Ryan Hannable
March 03, 2020 - 6:00 am

While the next few weeks are centered around players re-signing with their current teams or changing places by inking deals with new teams, do not forget about potential trades.

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Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Joe Flacco and Michael Bennett are some of the names that were traded at this time last year, which shows it can happen and happen to some pretty big names. Also, the Patriots acquired Brandin Cooks in a deal with the Saints around the start of free agency in 2017.

Given the situation the Patriots currently find themselves in, an impactful trade could be made in the coming weeks on the offensive side of the ball, even before NFL free agency begins March 18.

New England clearly needs help on offense and with roughly $30 million in cap space to work with, some creativity is going to be needed with or without Tom Brady at quarterback in 2020.

One way to add impact players without breaking the bank is via trade with the easiest being for players entering the final year of their contracts. Clearly, wide receiver and tight end are major positions of need and should be considered.

Here are some players to keep an eye on, but it's certainly not limited to just players on this list: Beckham Jr., Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, Curtis Samuel, Cooper Kupp, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Courtland Sutton, James Washington, Christian Kirk, O.J. Howard, Gerald Everett and Ed Dickson.

The majority of these players have one year left on their current deals, but other situations are possible, too. For example, Cooks wasn’t entering the final year of his deal when he was traded to New England a few years back.

Adding someone via trade would obviously help boost the roster, but it might also help the cause with potentially bringing Brady back.

The 42-year-old apparently doesn’t care as much about money as he does the surrounding cast that he has around him. As it stands now, if the Patriots want to bring Brady back, he would have to take their word that they will go out and add pieces to help him. New England hasn’t exactly done that in recent years, so one way to prove it means business this time around is to swing a trade before free agency even begins.

Some of these trades cannot become official until the new league year begins, but they are agreed upon and reported days before. Swinging a trade for a proven offensive piece would certainly help the Patriots’ case in luring Brady back to New England to finish off his career.

A trade obviously wouldn’t signal the end of the moves, either. Instead, it could lay the foundation for what is to come and be a sign for Brady that the organization does actually mean business when it comes to helping him.

Brady aside, the Patriots need a capable tight end with actual NFL experience and then following the news of Mohamed Sanu having offseason ankle surgery, a proven wide out or two now appear like must-adds. 

Without a ton of money to spend like the Dolphins or Colts, the Patriots can’t simply sign the best free agents and reload that way. It’s going to take another route and a trade or two feels like something that can be done.

Free agency officially begins in 15 days, but the action could begin even sooner than that.

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