11/2 Update: Broncos acquire TE Vernon Davis from the 49ers.
The New England Patriots have a habit of consummating deadline trades to restock the roster down the final stretch of the season. The trade deadline is Tuesday, November 3rd, at 4 PM EST. Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio will be calling teams with sub-.500 records to try and pick their bones for edible parts.
With the current status of the roster, I wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots had interest in the following positions:
Offensive tackle: The Patriots have lost Nate Solder for the season and Marcus Cannon is battling a toe injury. Foot injuries can linger and the Patriots have just Sebastian Vollmer and Cameron Fleming on the roster. ESPN's Mike Reiss has reported that Michael Williams, the Patriots gigantic tight end, has shrunken below the 300 lbs mark due to his transition away from tackle.
New England probably won't be interested in a marquee player, but an experienced veteran that can play at a level higher than Cameron Fleming is likely desired. Here are some options:
Browns OT Joe Thomas: Cleveland has made it known that multiple Browns starters are on the market as the team needs to reboot. Thomas is a perennial All Pro and would cost the Patriots to obtain. He has started every single game and has not outwardly expressed a desire to leave. Thomas is under contract through 2018.
49ers OT Joe Staley: Jason La Canfora of CBS believes that Staley is a potential trade prospect for the rebooting 49ers. Coincidentally, San Francisco drafted Staley in the first round after the Patriots traded away in the 2007 draft. The future pick from the 49ers was in the top 10 and turned into Jerod Mayo in 2008. Staley has an option built in his contract so the Patriots can move away after 2015 if they wish.
Chargers OT Joseph Barksdale: Barksdale is on a one-year contract and this is highly unlikely, but the Chargers are out for the year and could be willing to part with whatever assets they can.
Texans OT Chris Clark: A veteran with 30 starts at tackle, Clark is able to start at right tackle and could move back into the swing role if and when Marcus Cannon returns. Clark actually started at left tackle for nearly the entire 2013 Broncos Super Bowl season after Ryan Clady went down with an injury. The 30-year old Clark is a free agent after this season.
Defensive end: If the price is right, the Patriots could look to add another body at pass rusher. Jabaal Sheard has been fantastic, and the team has Geneo Grissom and Trey Flowers as additional depth. Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich have been playing their best football, ever. So why would the Patriots want a pass rusher?
Teams that compete for the Super Bowl are looking for marginal improvements. While Grissom and Flowers offer plenty of potential, the Patriots wouldn't hesitate if they thought they could acquire a pass rusher with some greater level of ability. Here are some names:
Browns EDs Barkevious Mingo or Paul Kruger: Cleveland has an ugly track record with these edge rushers, as Sheard left the Browns to become a key piece for the Patriots. Mingo and his agent have complained about his role, while "Kruger said he wasn't surprised by trade 'because of the way things have been playing out'' with the way he's been used," according to Cleveland.com. Mingo is a former 6th overall pick that the Patriots have an affinity for, but the cost to acquire is probably too high. Kruger is signed through 2017, while Mingo is signed through 2016 with the standard fifth year option available for 2017.
Lions ED Kyle Van Noy: If the Patriots are looking for another Akeem Ayers type player, it could be Van Noy who hasn't been able to produce at the NFL level due to injuries. He's a special teams standout with upside as an outside play at linebacker and on the defensive line.
Eagles ED Vinny Curry: Picked as a potential breakout star, Curry has seen his snaps fall from 42% to 32% to 28% to 15% over the past four games. Curry had nine sacks in 2014, but has just one this season. He was a much better fit in a 4-3 than in his current 3-4. Sounds like a standard Bill Belichick move.
Cornerback: Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan have actually been playing a very high level of ball, while Justin Coleman has stepped up as a high upside third cornerback. Still, for the same reasons the Patriots could improve at defensive end, the team certainly isn't married to Rashaan Melvin as the fourth cornerback on the depth chart. These players might be available:
Texans CB Jonathan Joseph: I don't think the Patriots will trade for Joseph and this is why. He's not playing well and he's under a lengthy contract. I just wanted to address the name.
Chiefs CB Marcus Cooper: While his teammate Sean Smith is unlikely to be traded, Cooper makes sense as a depth option. After playing every defensive snap in week 3 against the Packers, the return of Smith to the line-up forced Cooper to special teams in week 4, and then Cooper hasn't played since.
Ravens CB Lardarius Webb: Webb has always been an above average starter and the Ravens and he wants to be a Raven for life. But Baltimore just lost wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. for the season; could a Patriots receiver be of any interest to Baltimore?
Buccaneers CB Alterraun Verner: The former Titan has fallen down the Tampa Bay depth chart and has settled in a nickel capacity. He's a lot better than that, but he's misfit in Lovie Smith's secondary. He adds special teams value, too.
Titans CBs Jason McCourty or Coty Sensabaugh: ESPN's Mike Reiss also kicked around the idea of the Patriots trading for free safety Devin McCourty's brother, but Sensabaugh (with slot experience) would be the cheaper option.
Assets: In order to facilitate these trades, the Patriots will have to give up value. New England doesn't have a 1st round pick in 2016, so Belichick would be unlikely to sign off on parting with the team's 2nd rounder. The Patriots are due to receive a 3rd round compensatory pick for Darrelle Revis signing with the Jets, so the team's actual 3rd rounder is likely the trade ceiling for New England.
Additionally, the Patriots have some names that could be interesting for teams of need. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson isn't going to be in the offense anymore with the return of Brandon LaFell, while the team has plenty of veteran players on the defensive line (Sealver Siliga? Alan Branch? Dare I say Rob Ninkovich or Chandler Jones?) that could be utilized. And while I would be shocked if the Patriots traded away Jerod Mayo, and there have been absolutely zero signs that he is available for trade, we can never say never.
Who would you be willing to trade for?