I know many Patriots fans get irked when I bring up my prediction of Wes Welker being traded this season. He is playing on a franchise tag this season and will become a free-agent again at the end of next season. The talks between the organization and Welker were so far apart that I doubt a deal will surface, but I digress. My leading trade prediction would be Welker (and perhaps low draft picks) for Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings. However, the past few months have passed without the Jacksonville Jaguars reaching a new contract with star RB Maurice Jones-Drew. Perhaps he could end up on the Patriots’ radar?
Jaguars owner Shad Khan has said the train was leaving the station and MJD better get on board. Most fans could interpret that as saying, “Hey, either take the money we offer, or we’ll ship you out without looking back.” In light of these comments, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that MJD is now open to a trade. Let’s face it, if you were him, wouldn’t you want out of Jacksonville too? The team is in a bad market and struggles to avoid a blackout every week, plus it doesn’t help that the team has struggled consistently. MJD is the face of the franchise and was the league’s leading rusher last year with 1606 yards, but the Jags clearly aren’t going anywhere even with his help. Why not trade for a few pieces that could actually help their franchise grow?
A similar situation took place in the NHL this past season with the Columbus Blue Jackets trading their star player Rick Nash. A team that struggles year in and year out, the Jackets traded Nash to the New York Rangers for three players and a draft pick. They realized that one star player wouldn’t help their franchise, but perhaps three developed players would. The same could be said of the Jaguars. The Jaguars would certainly ask for everything but the kitchen sink for MJD, but the Patriots do have valuable players to spare. Right now there are three very competent WRs in Donte’ Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, and Deion Branch competing for the #3 spot on the Patriots roster. One is certain to get cut and will be a valuable pickup for another team. The Patriots also have a plentiful backfield with Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, and the rookie Brandon Bolden. This veritable cornucopia of players may entice the Jaguars into a trade. Blaine Gabbert could really use the offensive weapons to help him develop into a good quarterback.
Now, it’s not like the Patriots absolutely need MJD, but there are definite benefits. Bill Belichick wants to help lighten Brady’s load this year by running the ball more. Whether we can actually tell on the field or not, Brady is getting older and the Patriots want to preserve his health. Enter Maurice Jones-Drew. Another benefit is Drew’s blocking ability. For a guy that’s only 5′ 7″, he can block like it’s nobody’s business. He’s great insurance in case our offensive line is under pressure. I’d like to see Ridley make blocks like this guy can. If the Patriots were to trade for Maurice Jones-Drew, they would likely have to give up Welker, and either one of the three previously mentioned WRs (likely Stallworth) or one of the RBs (perhaps Vereen). I know player-for-player trades in the NFL are usually uncommon, but it is definitely something to think about. Both teams would benefit from the trade, so perhaps it is not too far fetched. I don’t know about you, but the thought of MJD and Tom Brady controlling our offense is as amazing as a shiny Lombardi trophy.
Tell me your thoughts!