The New England Patriots left Week 8 with a statement win over the Los Angeles Chargers, but they will have to turn the page quickly. Not only will they travel to Carolina on Sunday to take on the 4-4 Panthers, they also need to get ready for a pretty significant date on the NFL calendar: the trade deadline is coming up on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET.
The Patriots have already made their fair share of trades since the window opened in March — most recently in early October when they sent former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore to Carolina — and if history has taught us one thing it is not to rule anything out. It would neither be a surprise if New England swung another trade, nor if the team decided to stay put for just the second time in the last six years.
What we do know, however, is that Bill Belichick is not involved in all the behind-the-scenes talks going on at the moment. As he pointed out on Monday, the team’s personnel department led by Dave Ziegler is in charge of all that.
Belichick, meanwhile, is focused on something else: the upcoming game against the Panthers.
“Honestly, I’m not too worried about that. I think Dave Ziegler and his staff, they have the communications on that,” Belichick said.
“They keep me informed if there’s something that looks like might be moving or moving slowly in a direction, but we’ve wrapped up the Chargers game, and I’ve already spent quite a bit of time on Carolina. That’s really where I’m going to focus my time now. If something comes up, it comes up, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Sorry. I don’t know much more than you do.”
Belichick did not go into the details too much, but he did say that the Patriots have had a “normal amount of communication” with other teams at this point. Those range from asking about interest in particular players, to player exchanges, to potential trade scenarios.
“Those conversations go on,” he said on Monday.
While Belichick did not give any particular insight into the team’s mindset with the trade deadline approaching fast, he did acknowledge that the circumstances right now are different than they might have been a few days ago. Injuries suffered over the weekend, for example, have the potential to change the outlook quite a bit.
Take one of the Patriots’ future opponents, the Tennessee Titans. Running back was certainly no need for them with Derrick Henry on the roster. With the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year expected to miss considerable time due to a foot injury, however, they might be in the market to make a trade. Likewise, other teams might be more cautious moving on from one of their players if their depth was tested in Week 8.
“It’s kind of normal to have some kind of conversation,” Belichick said. “It’s also fairly normal Monday, after the game from yesterday, maybe Tuesday morning, for teams to maybe have a little different point of view than they might had on Saturday, Friday or Thursday when we talked to them before somebody got hurt. The guy that was available, they need to keep him.
“Something happened, and they feel like they just want to move on from the player if the price is right. That kind of thing. Same thing for us. We’re sitting here today, and somebody could call, and they lost somebody yesterday and say, ‘Hey. You have depth at this position. Would you trade so-and-so?’ Or not. We’ll just see what happens.”