DO YOUR JOB
An Account of the 2022 New England Patriots Season
There's certainly no shortage of opportunity to improve and to sell valuable pieces like Nelson Agholor at the deadline. PIC: Eric Adler
The Pats have typically stood pat at the deadline. They haven't made any big splashes in the last six seasons - sure, you can argue the Jimmy Garoppolo trade had historical implications, but it certainly didn't turn many heads for more than a day or two when he was traded to the 49ers.
Now, the Pats are 4-4, bringing up the rear of the AFC East, but still very much in the mix for a wild card spot. They won't be buyers, they won't be sellers. They won't be "all in on the playoffs," nor will they be tanking for a high draft pick. Rather, they'll take some phone calls, they may pull trigger on a few deals that will be footnotes in their season, or - if they want to deviate from the historical patterns - will make a big splash. But in any case, there's some talent circulating on the trade block this year.
Let's talk about the Pats' gameplan this trade deadline.
I'm not sure what Bill's mentality is here. The Pats are obviously not traditional "sellers" in this market with just one game separating them from a three-way tie for second place. That being said, there are some hot names on the block that currently wear the red-white-and-blue. I'd recommend swapping all of these guys for serviceable offensive linemen or picks.
WR Nelson Agholor
A two-year, $22 million contract for a deep threat is something any team should be willing to take on, just as the Patriots did a couple of years ago. Agholor's career in New England has certainly had its flair, but ultimately isn't really a successful one to this point. Couple that with the fact he's only played less than 37% of the Pats' offensive snaps, and it's a recipe for a move. Give him to the Chargers, Vikings, or a team willing to take a flier...and take the couple of picks you get in return.
WR Kendrick Bourne
In a similar vain, Bourne was someone I was bullish on when he signed his 3-year, $15 million deal last time around. After a middle-of-the-road year in 2021, he's off to the worst start of his career in 2022. Yes, he's such a team guy and sucking it up, even though he is on the bad side of Matt Patricia and the rest of the coaching staff: "In Bill I trust, in Bill we trust," he reiterated to the media a few days ago. "With Bill, we've always got a shot every single week. And I just love being a part of something like that."
I wish nothing but the best for Bourne - he's a great guy and a great teammate. I hope he benefits from a change of scenery.
OL Isaiah Wynn
Where to begin? A guy that had so much promise is having one of the worst seasons as an offensive lineman in the NFL. He currently is tied for most penalties by an OL, and only one yard behind Kevin Dotson of the Steelers. 3 holdings and 3 false starts has cost the Pats nearly a half-a-football field (49 yards) so far.
Yes, this might be shooting themselves in the foot if they don't get anything in return. But, goodness gracious, Isaiah Wynn has been bad this year.
Team needs: Right Tackle, Linebacker, upgrade at WR?
There's a few different areas this team can improve, but the offensive line and the linebacking core are the areas they'll certainly need to focus if they are to take the next steps. Roquan Smith is off the board after getting swapped to the Ravens for picks, but there are still some quality guys on the block. Here are some targets that the Patriots need to consider if they're all-in on getting back to the playoffs this season.
OL Tytus Howard (Houston Texans)
Howard was the #23 overall pick in the 2019 draft, and has impressed ever since. The 6'5", 330-pound lineman was originally a tackle out of Alabama State, but was flexed to guard, then moved back to tackle - paired up on the opposite side of Laremy Tunsil.
PIC: George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
It could take a decent chunk to grab Howard, but the Texans are in line for yet another horrible year after starting off 1-5-1. If Houston looks to blow it up, it probably starts with Brandin Cooks, then all eyes go to Howard & Tunsil. It's gotta be all about pairing the right young core with stud cornerback Derek Stingley in hopes he doesn't seek another team.
OL Andre Dillard (Philadelphia Eagles)
Dillard was all the rage in the beginning of the season. The Eagles have some of the best offensive line depth in the NFL, ranking second only to the Cleveland Browns. Dillard, right now, is on the outside looking in to Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, and Jordan Mailata - among others - and his name is resurfacing with only a few hours left in the deadline.
Dillard, a 6'5", 315lb tackle primarily has experience on the left side, but can easily switch to play right tackle. He would be instant respite for Isaiah Wynn, who desperately needs a change of scenery after the atrocious start to the 2022 season. Local Philadelphia media seems to think it would've taken a third-rounder to coax the Eagles to trade Dillard at the beginning of the year. But after a few months on the bench, would you think the Pats have a decent chance to get away with less? I certainly do.
LB Bradley Chubb (Denver Broncos)
If you put Bradley Chubb alongside Matthew Judon, who is among the league leaders in sacks, you'd have a formidable crew.
Even though the Broncos look horrid this year, I'm unsure how realistic Chubb would be, but we like to dream. They'd have to free up nearly $8 million in cap space, which would be extremely difficult without offloading either Agholor or Bourne (or both). You'd have to think an extension would be absolutely necessary in the Pats' eyes for this to be worth it.
LB Shaq Thompson (Carolina Panthers)
A potentially more realistic option could be Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson, who Mike Reiss thought was great even before this was a thought.
Thompson might even be a better fit than Chubb, or anyone else, in the Patriots defensive scheme. He plays similar to Kyle Dugger - speedy, aggressive, unafraid to make a big hit in the backfield, while also maintaining solid IQ in coverage. Thompson would instantly be the best linebacker on the roster after a move like this. If there's one move the Pats make, it should be this one.