I was ready to start posting mock drafts and all those fun guesses that come with it, but a funny happened on my way to the computer. The trade rumor season kicked into high gear, and I can’t just sit on the sidelines and watch the game. I need to jump in because there are some BIG names being thrown around as potential Patriots. Some make perfect sense, and others are mostly pipe dreams, which is typical this time of year, but there is one hot name on the market that makes sense, so instead of posting round one of a draft that isn’t happening for another two months, I’m going to try and forecast the March trade market for your New England Patriots.
The rumor that Percy Harvin is on the trade block made my antenna go off more than anyone else. The Patriots liked Harvin coming out of college, and they still like him now. There are reports that Harvin has blown up on multiple coaches, his teammates are upset with him, and due to the fact that he will be playing on the last year of his deal, the Vikings are going to have no choice but to move him. Rick Spielman, general manager for the Vikings, doesn’t seem like he wants to trade him, but in this day and age where players and their agents take control when it is close to renegotiate, it almost seems inevitable that Harvin will be pushing his way out of Minnesota. Although the Vikings do have the most dominant offensive player in the league, how much longer is that going to last? Who wants to sign long term when there is no legitimate quarterback in place? Nobody and I think that greases the skids for the trade of Harvin next month.
The Patriots have their own issues at wide receiver, with the well publicized contract battle with Wes Welker and the less talked about option on Brandon Lloyd’ contract. The Patriots could end up replacing their top two wideouts, and although some may think that seems insane for the best passing offense in football, it is actually a smart move. Lloyd and Welker are not young, with both being over the age of 30. Lloyd doesn’t get YAC, at all. I know the Patriots coaches teach their wideouts to go down and not get killed, but Lloyd took it to another level. Toughness is part of the game, and Lloyd simply doesn’t show it.
If the Patriots can trade for Harvin, that wouldn’t just replace Welker, it would add an element at the wide receiver position that the Pats haven’t had in some years. Harvin can do things that no Tom Brady receiver has ever been able to do, and that includes Randy Moss. Harvin is strong, very quick, and his acceleration is on another level. Brady would fall in love with his ability. Harvin would also be comfortable in New England because he is playing with Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes and Jermaine Cunningham, three teammates from Florida that played three years together in college. The relationships these players already have mean a lot; as we saw last year when Reggie Wayne stuck with Chuck Pagano, so don’t discount the relationship part of the situation.
The Patriots also need to start thinking about life without Tom Brady, and having a 24 year old game breaking receiver to go along with two of the best tight ends in football and a solid running attack will ease the transition to Ryan Mallett or whomever else the Patriots add to the team. I am going to go on record saying that if Mallett isn’t sent to Cleveland this offseason, he is the Patriots quarterback of the future. The kid has a live arm and if you protect him, he can make the plays needed to win. If Joe Flacco can be developed, so can Ryan Mallett.
Other names are going to pop up on the market, and many of them are going to be linked to New England, but most of them are just rumors started by media members trying to manufacture a story. The Harvin rumors do carry weight though, but the question is, do the Patriots have what it takes to make this move? They don’t have the ridiculous amount of draft picks that they have had in the past (5 picks this year), so what is it going to take? Here is an idea: ask the Vikings if they have interest in Wes Welker. If they do, allow Welker and his agent to negotiate with the Vikings, slap the franchise tag on him and trade him for Harvin, straight up. Granted, the Patriots will lose their ability to use the tag on Talib or Vollmer, but giving it up to avoid losing high draft picks and adding a talent like Harvin would be similar to say, I don’t know, trading a second and a fifth for a guy who averaged over 100 catches for five years? Make it happen, Bill.
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