Even if the Patriots sell at the deadline, they could target these buy-low options.
The New England Patriots are 2-4 and will have a date with the Buffalo Bills in Week 8, which could very much seal their fate at the trade deadline. If Bill Belichick’s side falls to 2-5, you have to think they’re going to sell off some big-name players to get value and prepare for 2021 and beyond.
They might even consider doing that if they beat the Bills, given how bad they’ve looked over the last month. This team simply lost too many players to free agency and opt outs to survive a complicated 2020 season that’s already showed how disadvantageous it can be. It’s not a knock on anybody, it’s just the reality.
If this is how the front office and Belichick are approaching the deadline, they should add another layer to their approach: on top of selling top guys, buy low on some underperforming candidates, guys about to hit free agency, or others blocked on the depth chart.
The Patriots can stand to improve in a colossal way if they head into the deadline with a multi-faceted plan. There’s still half of the season left to get any potential trade acquisitions acclimated to determine their future contributions to the team, so here are three buy-low candidates that fit the bill and could help the Patriots prep for the foreseeable future.
3. Takkarist McKinley
The Patriots could improve their pass rush with Takkarist McKinley.
The Atlanta Falcons stink. They rejected Takkarist McKinley’s fifth-year option. He doesn’t really want to be there. They don’t really want him. You couldn’t draw up a better “buy-low” scenario.
On top of that, McKinley has been limited to four games this year due to some injuries and is having the worst start to a season of his career. A guy with a ton of potential, unable to tap into it in his current situation, has some character issues, and needs a change of scenery … yeah, that seems like the Belichick trade blueprint.
Across 49 career games, McKinley has 79 tackles (22 for a loss), 17.5 sacks and 45 QB hits on a Falcons team that has been downright trash ever since it blew the Super Bowl against … the Patriots. He’ll be a free agent after this season and it’s as clear as day he’s not returning to the Falcons.
In order to salvage some value, Atlanta should begin to clean house themselves and retrieve value anywhere possible. McKinley won’t fetch a ton, but it’s better than nothing. Win for the Falcons getting some sort of compensation, and a win for the Patriots having to surrender a late-round pick at most.