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NFL trade deadline primer: Who to keep an eye on for Patriots

Ryan Hannable
October 29, 2018 - 4:03 pm

The NFL trade deadline is set for Tuesday at 4 p.m. and it appears the Patriots will be looking to make a move, or even more.

The team is always one of the more active teams at the deadline and this year shouldn’t be any different. It’s already been reported the team is looking into adding a “premium” wide receiver and then there are also needs on defense, especially in the front-seven, but also potentially at safety.

As of now, the Patriots have just over $5 million in cap space, which won’t allow them to make any big moves. But, cap space can be created pretty easily by moving some money around in players’ contracts, so it really shouldn’t limit who the Patriots go after.

When it comes to players who might be available, look to teams who are struggling and already know they will not factor into the playoff equation. As it relates to the Patriots, the 49ers and Giants are two teams that come to mind as they have good relationships with them, and in the 49ers case, have done deals with in the past. Of course, the most notable one is the Jimmy Garoppolo trade at the deadline last season.

Another team to look to is the Cardinals, as they are basically out of the mix in the NFC West and likely would not turn down draft picks to build for the future and/or get some players’ contracts off their books. The Broncos and Raiders should be included in this category as well.

Keep in mind, just because the Patriots are active doesn’t necessarily mean a trade will happen, as it needs to be the right player and at the right price.

Here are five names to keep an eye on as it relates to the Patriots, and of course there will be plenty of others, especially considering the team has made it a habit of acquiring lesser known players and getting the most out of them.

Demaryius Thomas

Thomas has been a name connected to the Patriots dating back to the summer, and on Sunday NFL Media’s Mike Giardi said the Patriots have discussed him. The thing to note with him is his contract. The current Broncos wide out is signed through next season, but has a base salary of $14 million in 2019. It is worth noting there is a potential out after this season. That being said, the cost just may not prove to be worth it for the 30-year-old.

Emmanuel Sanders

Another Broncos receiver in Sanders is also an option, as Denver is 3-5 on the year and seems to be looking towards the future. Like Thomas, Sanders is signed through next year, but his base salary is a little less at just over $10 million. He also has a potential out after this year as well. Sanders is 31 years old, but is having one of the better years of his career. He already has three, 100-yard receiving games and has totaled 50 catches for 660 yards and three touchdowns in eight games.

Deone Bucannon

The 26-year-old seems like a player the Cardinals will be looking to move over the next day or so. Before Sunday, Bucannon wasn’t used much, which makes a trade seem even more possible. In eight games this season (three starts), he has 18 tackles. This came after totaling 82 tackles and a sack in 12 games last year. Bucannon is pretty athletic and could be used all over by the Patriots defense.

Shane Ray

Ray, another Broncos player, may be the best outside linebacker available, but it is worth noting he missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and has battled injuries the last few years. He played in just eight games last year and finished with one sack and 16 tackles. His best year came in 2017 when he had 48 tackles and eight sacks. From this viewpoint, this doesn’t make much sense for New England.

Golden Tate

This seems like a bit of a stretch with the Lions still right in the thick of things in the NFC North, but he’s a free agent after the season and they have a number of other options in the passing game that they would be able to survive without him. There were rumors he could be dealt during training camp, including to the Patriots, so perhaps the groundwork for a deal has already been discussed. Of course, there’s a lot of familiarity with the two organizations as coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn both came from New England. This is a long shot, but if the Patriots really are in the market for receivers he's a name to watch.

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