The Patriots seem like they’re legitimately bad for the first time in 20 years.
Julian Edelman’s season isn’t over, but the Patriots’ seems like it’s on its way out. Now at 2-4, the Patriots are 2.5 games out of first place, trailing the Bills and Dolphins. That’s their worst six-game start since 2000. That’s the worst start since before the Patriots had ever won a Super Bowl or Tom Brady had stepped on the field in New England.
So, maybe it should be no surprise that there are rumors of Belichick blowing up the roster as the trade deadline draws near. The most notable rumor? Stephon Gilmore is on the trade block.
In the same breath, it’s easy to see that the Patriots aren’t far from being a playoff team. Cam Newton, before he missed time due to a positive COVID-19 test, looked like the MVP that electrified Carolina for years. The defense, even with all of their opt outs, was looking rock solid in the first four games of the year.
When you see a team that’s close, you’re tempted to want to make a couple quick fixes at the trade deadline to further a playoff push. Bring in a wide receiver who can blow the top off a defense. Get some help at tight end. Do something to make the offense click like it did the first few weeks.
Here’s the issue with that, though. Those are quick fixes to a much deeper problem. The core of this team is not good enough. The receivers, even when they’re healthy, are one of the worst units in football. Each running back does one thing well, but none of them are complete, which means that teams know how the Patriots will use them and don’t have to defend them in multiple ways. The quarterback of the future is not on the roster. Meanwhile, the defense is rapidly aging.
Yes, this team is a couple more pieces from making the playoffs. They’re a complete overhaul from winning the Super Bowl, though. Kansas City, Baltimore, Buffalo, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, even Cleveland all are putting more well-rounded and talented teams on the field.
It’s been two decades since Patriots fans have had to face this reality, but it’s time to blow up the roster. Accept a bad season. Acquire more draft picks and start building for 2021 and beyond.
It’s a sad reality, but fighting it will only land the Patriots in the middle of the first round, which is no man’s land for drafting a quarterback. The trade deadline is just days away, and the Patriots can really do themselves a favor by scrapping this season, putting themselves in a tremendous draft position, and building from there instead of pretending like this iteration of the team (at best) will lead them anywhere past the first round of the playoffs.