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A List of the Patriots Top 5 Best Trades Since 2000

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots are always an active player on the trade every year, serving as a reminder that draft picks are merely assets and there are avenues other than overpaying players in free agency. Yesterday, the Patriots acquired TE Martellus Bennett from the Bears a day after trading edge defender Chandler Jones to the Cardinals.

  1. Patriots trade a 2000 1st, 2001 4th, 2001 7th to the Jets for Head Coach Bill Belichick, 2001 5th, 2002 7th: This one is a no-brainer because that got the Patriots their future first ballot HOF coach and the captain of the Patriots current dynasty. The Patriots have had a near unprecedented run of success in the Free Agency and Hard Salary Cap Era of the NFL. The biggest get for the Jets was DL Shaun Ellis while the other picks didn't amount to much, although the 2002 7th was used for the Patriots to trade up to select TE Daniel Graham.
  2. Patriots trade a 2007 1st to the 49ers for a 2007 4th and 2008 1st: The Patriots had already used their first round pick acquired from the Deion Branch trade the previous season, so they elected to move their other first round pick into the next season. The 49ers saw that as an opportunity to move up and selected OT Joe Staley. The two picks the Patriots received in that trade turned out to be Randy Moss and Jerod Mayo, who would both have excellent careers in New England.
  3. Patriots trade 2009 3rd to Jaguars for 2009 7th and 2010 2nd: The Jaguars liked a small school CB prospect named Derek Cox and were able to strike a deal with the Patriots who already had a 3rd round comp pick with the loss of Asante Samuel in FA. This wasn't a bad trade for Jacksonville, who got the player they wanted for 4 years, but it was an even better trade for the Patriots because those picks turned into Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.
  4. Patriots trade 2010 2nd and 2010 6th to Raiders for 2010 2nd: The Patriots anticipated that the Ravens might draft Rob Gronkowski with the 43rd pick, so they arranged a deal with Oakland to leapfrog Baltimore and wound up taking Gronk with the 42nd pick. We know how this story ended, Gronk became a Superstar TE and transformed the Patriots offense. RIP Al Davis, he was one of the greatest people to ever be involved in the game of football.
  5. Patriots trade 2013 4th to Buccaneers for CB Aqib Talib and 2013 7th: It seems that the inflection point for the Patriots defense this decade was when they decided to take on a troubled CB with a lot of talent. This is the Patriots' modus operandi when it comes to these trades. Acquire a disgruntled, yet highly talented player for a late pick, turn them into big time players, then re-sign or let them walk for a 3rd or 4th round comp pick. That business model never fails because it's a low-risk, high-upside move. Talib immediately turned around the Patriots defense that finally had a #1 CB and since then they've had a top 10 caliber defense each year.
It's unlikely the deals made this year will crack the Top 5 barring crazy circumstances and the Patriots wind up winning a Super Bowl. Both Martellus Bennett and Jonathan Cooper have the potential to drastically improve the Patriots offense over what they had in the AFCCG. Time will tell for these two moves.