While a total of six moves were made ahead of the NFL’s 2023 trade deadline on Tuesday afternoon, the New England Patriots decided to stay put. There were rumors that they might move on from players such as pass rusher Josh Uche, but ultimately nothing transpired.
As a consequence, the basic foundation of the Patriots’ roster will stay intact heading into the second half of the season. That said, the moves — or the lack thereof — do not equally impact all players currently on the team.
With that in mind, let’s do a quick rundown of those who can be seen as benefactors of the trade deadline and those who can not.
Winner: QB Mac Jones. There was some pre-deadline speculation that the Patriots might be parting ways with members of their offense such as offensive lineman Michael Onwenu, wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, running back Ezekiel Elliott, or tight end Hunter Henry. Even though they were relatively unrealistic trade candidates to begin with, New England works in mysterious ways and few things can ever truly be ruled out. In the end, though, there were no changes and the personnel around Jones remains intact.
Winners: OT Trent Brown and OT Michael Onwenu. Not only did Onwenu stay put despite some rumors he might be on his way out, both he and fellow starting tackle Trent Brown received some good news: the Patriots’ Week 9 opponent, the Washington Commanders, traded away their two best pass rushers on Tuesday. With Chase Young and Montez Sweat now in San Francisco and Chicago, respectively, Washington’s pass rush has lost plenty of its bite.
Winners: Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo. Two of the most popular trade candidates on the Patriots’ roster were safety Kyle Dugger and edge Josh Uche, with the latter seen as the most likely departee. However, both stayed put which is good news for the entire defense and its de facto coordinators in particular: having Dugger and Uche available makes scheming up coverages and pressure packages a lot easier for Belichick and Mayo.
Loser: LB Mack Wilson Sr. Had the Patriots traded Uche, Wilson likely would have been one of the benefactors. The veteran linebacker, after all, has seen increased defensive action during his recent injury absence — something that likely would have continued had he been sent to another team. With Uche set to return, however, Wilson’s opportunities will likely go down again and he will resume a backup/special teams role.
Loser: Backup offensive linemen. Had the Patriots gone through with trading Michael Onwenu, the entire offensive line would have been shaken up. This, in turn, might have created openings for players such as Atonio Mafi, Vederian Lowe or Conor McDermott to earn starting roles. Alas, that did not happen and they will remain backup options for the time being.
At the end of the day, the Patriots not making any deadline moves does not have too big an impact on the team as a whole. They were never believed to go into “fire sale” mode despite their 2-6 record, and any additions would likely have been of the minor kind as well.