Why the Patriots trading up to draft Tua Tagovailoa is the dumbest idea ever

Ken Laird
April 07, 2020 - 10:41 pm
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If the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin or WEEI’s Nick ‘Fitzy’ Stevens have their way, the Patriots will trump the world’s current dumbest idea ever - letting Tom Brady get away - with a new dumbest idea ever: trading up in the 2020 draft to select Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Volin wrote last week that if Tua is available at pick No. 3, he’s “the guy the Patriots should want,” outlining various means of moving up from No. 23 to make the choice. Maybe packaging Julian Edelman with their first and third-round selections. And maybe sending future draft picks. Or shipping out Dont’a Hightower. 

Our own Fitzy doubled down on this Volin idiocy Monday on The Greg Hill Show, declaring Tua the “left-handed Russell Wilson,” while suggesting Joe Thuney or Stephon Gillmore could be used as trade bait.

The trading for Tua idea is big and bold, I’ll give it that. It’s also bunk.

First off, a flashy move like this one instantly cuts down incumbent Jarrett Stidham at the knees. Sure, you might have some short-term competition and a fun 2020 training camp. But you’d also turn the man Belichick called ‘Stid’ in December into a basket case in search of an exit with Tua T. the new darling and obvious franchise future.

Pairing Stidham with a veteran QB (see Cam Newton, Andy Dalton) makes some sense, taking the pressure off of the young guy to be the man replacing The Man. It would allow Stidham another understudy season, with the chance to be the conquering hero when said vet fails. 

Pairing Stidham with a new hot-shot draft pick just creates drama. 

It also would create an air of desperation. Either the desperation of Belichick trying to prove he can win without Tom Brady at QB, or the desperation of Robert Kraft encouraging a splash move to keep season ticket holders engaged.

Trading up 20 spots in the first round would feel counter to everything Belichick. He’s a value man who is looking to make his team better. Team over player.

Tua at No. 3 is not value. He’s a major injury concern in a year without sound medical information. Does he have Bo Jackson’s hip? Are his ankle issues chronic? Can he take a hit in the NFL?

And despite those health concerns, it doesn’t appear Tua’s league-wide value is dropping much. It’d be one thing if he fell into the Patriots’ laps at, say, pick No. 19. Instead, Tua broke a hip and it appears he’s falling nowhere.

And anyway, the goal of 2020 for the Pats should be restocking the shelves, not bartering the entire doomsday supply of food for one roll of toilet paper.

Sure, Belichick is an active draft-day trader. He’s moved up on occasion to get a player he loves. In 2012, Belichick acquired Chandler Jones and Hightower with opening round move-ups, but these were short range shifts (six pick moves). For some reason, Chad Jackson was a guy Belichick had to have in the second round in 2006.

But trading away cornerstone players to make the deal? Stephon Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year? Ironman Thuney? Edelman, only proven receiver on the roster?

It’s a restock, not a rebuild. Belichick is chasing Don Shula for the most wins all-time as an NFL coach. It’s not time to overpay for a mansion that you can’t fill with furniture.

Plus, there is history working against this brainchild.

Name the last Alabama QB to have NFL success. Bart Starr, Joe Namath and Ken Stabler probably weren’t even your father’s quarterbacks. 

And I’m no prospect guru, but NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah had six other members of the Tide in his Top 50 overall prospect rankings. There’s a good chance Tua’s college success is just a product of the great team that was around him.

Admit it, Volin & Fitzy. This idea is dumb.

Way more likely than this trade happening is that Belichick has somehow managed to get these two media stiffs to swallow the hook, raising the Tua price for the rest of the league. 

If restaurants were open, Bill would probably be dining with the young man at Tresca like the old Tim Tebow trick of 2010. And Fitzy would be calling Tebow the left-handed Tom Brady.