Whether it’s a large trade like trading away Richard Seymour or Logan Mankins, or a small one like acquiring Kyle Van Noy or Eric Rowe, the Patriots are known for the “out-of-nowhere” trades that ultimately make a big difference for the team. With the Patriots and other teams getting a chance to look at players fighting for roster spots, it allows their coaching staffs and front offices to see who could potential targets whether it be via waivers or a trade. The new structure for roster reductions makes it so 1,184 players will have to be either released, waived or traded between the end of preseason and the beginning of the regular season.
Like every other team, the Patriots have suffered injuries and still have their own depth chart weaknesses that need to be addressed. Rather than fight for players on the waivers/in free agency, we could see New England once again look to the trade market to better their team. We will take a look at a few trade scenarios the team could look at and who might some of their own players they could look to move.
PATRIOTS TRADE: WR Danny Amendola, 2018 sixth round pick
JETS TRADE: DE/OLB Lorenzo Mauldin
- Right out of the gate, we go with a very much “outside-of-the-box” trade idea for division rivals. While Amendola isn’t necessarily a player who is on the roster bubble, he is going into the last year of his deal and provided a minimal role for the team in 2016 with only 23 receptions in 12 regular season games. And that was before the team went out and signed Rex Burkhead and traded for Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen. Not to mention they have an undrafted free agent who could be the heir to his slot duties in Austin Carr.
- The problem is that with the wide receiver depth the Patriots have, Carr faces a tough challenge to secure a spot on the team’s final roster. And with the risk of potentially losing him to waivers if they try to stash him on their practice squad, there is a small chance the Patriots think about moving on from Amendola, who may retire/be on another team in 2018 to secure Carr for the future.
- The Jets are currently dealing with a complete lack of depth at the wide receiver position. They released Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall and then lost top wide-out Quincy Enunwa to a season-ending neck injury recently. An established wide receiver like Amendola could help make the depth look a bit better for whatever quarterback they Jets decide to put under center.
- NJ Advance Media’ Connor Hughes wrote about how Mauldin’s chances of making the roster are fading away potentially with his poor play and inability to stay healthy. Rather than give up completely on Mauldin without getting any return on investment, the team could look into trading him. The Patriots, like with Eric Rowe last season, have no problem going after players who may not be in a team’s long term plans.
- The Patriots need EDGE depth after losing Rob Ninkovich and Derek Rivers and Mauldin could provide depth while get a chance to reset his career with a new team and perhaps become a valuable piece for their pass rush. The extra draft pick may be a throw-in, but it would give the rebuilding Jets another draft pick to work with in next year’s draft.
PATRIOTS TRADE: LB Elandon Roberts
49ERS TRADE: DE/OLB Aaron Lynch
- Roberts is currently fighting for a roster spot with the team having Dont’a Hightower, David Harris, Kyle Van Noy and even Shea McClellin already at the linebacker position. Roberts’ style of play doesn’t always mesh well with the Patriots defensive scheme of containing big plays rather than relying on “high risk/high reward” play. He has the ability to be a good run stopper but makes too many mistakes on diagnosing plays and where the ball-carrier is going.
- The 49ers need inside linebacker depth behind NaVarro Bowman, who is coming off multiple Achilles injuries in the past couple of years. Roberts could be a good student for Bowman and is under contract for three more seasons. He fits with the 49ers rebuilding model to have young, teachable talent under long-term contract control. Meanwhile, Lynch is on the outside looking in with the team right now.
- He has shown potential like in 2015 but has also dealt with conditioning, injury and even suspension problems since coming into the league. The Patriots could take him in for the one season he is under contract (like Barkevious Mingo in 2016) and see if being with the extremely disciplined Patriots team can get him on the right path. He would provide depth at defensive end and ultimately could be someone who plays on special teams for most of season if he doesn’t pan out.
PATRIOTS TRADE: CB Cyrus Jones, 2018 seventh round pick
BROWNS TRADE: OL John Greco, two 2018 fourth round picks
- Coming off of a Lisfranc injury, Greco came into this year’s camp with Cleveland knowing he would be fighting for a playoff spot. With the Browns signing J.C. Tretter and extending Joel Bitonio, Greco may not be in the team’s long-term plays at age 32. Playing on the last year of his deal and on the roster bubble, the Browns would be wise to get something in return for him.
- While Cyrus Jones showed a sliver of his special teams ability in week two’s preseason game, he has shown no improvement as a defensive back and may not be in the team’s future. With Stephon Gilmore signing long-term, Eric Rowe under contract until 2019 and Jonathan Jones improving, the Patriots may look to recoup some of their investment in Jones while getting help for in the short-term. Jones could be well worth the Browns, who are looking to gather as much young talent as possible while rebuilding and at a position of need.
- Jones won’t garner a second round pick, but he could be worth a couple of early day three selections, which the Browns have two of in 2018.
PATRIOTS TRADE: RB Brandon Bolden, 2019 conditional fifth round pick
CHARGERS TRADE: DE/OLB Jeremiah Attaochu
- Bolden’s best chance of making the Patriots this season is if he wows in the remaining preseason games or a running back gets hurt. He is proficient in his special teams ability, but the team has Matthew Slater, Brandon King and Nate Ebner as core special teams players already. This might be the year Bolden’s luck runs out with New England.
- The Chargers are switching defensive schemes from a 4-3 to a 3-4 for Gus Bradley’s arrival. Attaochu may not be the best fit there and is in the last year of his rookie contract. With Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram as the Chargers future at defensive end/outside linebacker, Attaochu may be available for the right price.
- Considering the Chargers are in need of a back-up running back behind Melvin Gordon with Branden Oliver (coming off Achilles tear) and Andre Williams (not very good), this could be a trade that helps both sides. The conditional pick can be either a fifth or sixth round pick depending on how much the Patriots use Attaochu, who would provide depth and be a situation pass-rusher for New England.
PATRIOTS TRADE: TE Matt Lengel
JAGUARS TRADE: OG Patrick Omameh
- The Patriots have a surplus of tight ends at the moment. Beyond Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, Lengel, James O’Shaughnessy & Jacob Hollister are competing for the team’s number three job. Lengel was on the team last year, Hollister is a potentially exciting rookie and the team traded for O’Shaughnessy. It’ll be a harder decision than most for the team to decide who they will keep and who they won’t. An option could be trading one of them to get something in return rather than release them.
- Lengel is probably the longest shot for the team right now with Hollister being a potential practice squad candidate and O’Shaughnessy likely being the front runner for the number three job. The Jaguars are in need of tight end depth with Marcedes Lewis and Ben Koyack as their top two players at the position. Lengel would be a welcome addition who can block and also be a red-zone target, which the team lost when they traded Julius Thomas away.
- Omameh is losing traction in his position battle at left guard for the Jaguars. While he may likely be kept as depth even if he loses the job, the team has a good amount of depth already. He hasn’t looked particularly strong this preseason and is only on a one year deal anyway, like Lengel. He would provide valuable interior offensive line depth where he could be the team’s swing guard and allow Ted Karras to be the primary back-up center for the team.