If the Patriots want to re-tool and sell at the trade deadline, here’s what Bill Belichick needs to do.
The New England Patriots are below .500 this late in the NFL season for the first time in 18 years, and though there are unfortunate circumstances that have contributed to that, it’s not crazy to see Bill Belichick selling a bit at the trade deadline in order to re-tool, grab draft picks, and get ready to really make a splash in 2021.
If Cam Newton returns to form, this team will be in great shape. All New England needs is a receiver and a tight end to reclaim contender status, but there are a few players the Pats don’t necessarily need at the moment if they’re not gunning for a Super Bowl in 2020.
A lot of teams out there will be looking for stability all over their roster given this uncertain season, and the Patriots have a lot of guys at key positions that can get Belichick a nice return in any deal.
We know this is hard to fathom, because when are the Patriots ever sellers? But in a year in which they’re clearly far from among the best in the AFC, Belichick think it’s a better idea to re-tool for next year. Here are three players the team should trade if they do unload at the deadline.
3. Rex Burkhead
The Patriots have too many running backs and Rex Burkhead could be a solid trade chip.
With the returns of Damien Harris and James White, coupled what we’ve seen in short bursts from JJ Taylor, the Patriots should easily be able to get by with that running back corps if Burkhead is sent packing. He won’t fetch a top pick, but some team would perhaps cough up a fifth-rounder at best for his services.
He’s dynamic out of the backfield, averaging 4.1 yards per rush as well as 8.4 yards per catch on the year. He averages nearly 50 total yards per game and provides a great change of pace for any offense. At worst, he’s a really good third-down back.
He’s making $2.9 million this year, so it’s doubtful teams will be hesitant when looking at that price tag. On the other hand, it’s money the Patriots just don’t need on the payroll at the moment. They can free up around $1.5 million when Burkhead is dealt and move on with the aforementioned backs plus Sony Michel, whenever he returns.
Trading from a position of surplus is the name of the game, and this is exactly that.