The NFL trade deadline will be 4pm today and the Patriots have an open roster space. The team is also carrying $9.5M cap space according to Miguel Benzan (@patscap on Twitter), so they have the financial flexibility to make an addition. Areas the Patriots could look to improve are the defensive line and adding some depth at safety. It takes two parties to make a deal, the only question becomes who's available and who's willing to make a deal. Teams to keep an eye on this deadline are San Francisco, Chicago, Jacksonville, and Cleveland as they are likely to blow things up and need draft assets more than player assets. With the comp pick system, the Patriots could take advantage and create value out of thin air.
The Patriots have not been afraid to make deals. They started the league year by trading Chandler Jones to Arizona for a 2nd round pick that was later traded down into the 3rd round for a 4th round pick. The Patriots then selected LG Joe Thuney and a development WR in Malcolm Mitchell. OG Jonathan Cooper was involved in the trade, but realistically that's not who the Patriots were after anyway.
At the end of preseason they traded for Eric Rowe. Rowe has factored into the CB mix and the last three weeks has the second most snaps behind Malcolm Butler. Rowe has 2 more years of control after this season, so the Patriots traded a conditional 4th round pick in 2018 that is looking like it will upgrade into a 3rd. 3 years of terrific CB play is worth a late 3rd round pick. Rowe gives the Patriots a corner that can match up with size and not force Malcolm Butler to have to cover the 6'4"+ WRs in the league.
The Patriots started off the week by trading for ED Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy is listed as a linebacker, but is really a hybrid edge defender like Rob Ninkovich and Shea McClellin. I figure he will get into the defensive mix once the Patriots get off their bye week. Van Noy was a well-regarded prospect in the 2014 draft as a Day 2 pick that was best suited to be a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 SLB. He did not work out in Detroit in the latter role, so I imagine Belichick will put him in certain situations to rush the passer or drop into coverage.
The last and perhaps most controversial trade was sending out LB Jamie Collins to Cleveland for a compensatory 3rd in 2017 or a 2018 4th. The move is more puzzling than Chandler Jones because it's happening halfway through the season instead of at the start of the league year. I have no idea nor will I ever find out the reasoning behind this trade. The 3rd round comp pick is dependent on Falcons center Alex Mack staying healthy all season. Collins has his critics, including former Browns/Raiders/Patriots personnel man and longtime friend of Bill Belichick, Mike Lombardi. The Patriots recent defensive effort could be why Collins was made an example of, but we don't know for sure.
When news breaks, we will be quick to get everyone updated. Enjoy the suspense of the NFL trade deadline unless yesterday's trade has killed your mood.