Patriots: Bleacher Report proposes thought-provoking trade with Steelers
Do the New England Patriots have another trade in them? We wouldn’t put it past Bill Belichick, but we really doubt it’d be one of this caliber! … or do we?
Ahead of the 2021 NFL season, Bleacher Report decided to write a fun column centered around one trade each team should offer before training camp.
Their suggestion for the Patriots was calling up the Arizona Cardinals and asking for a second-round pick in exchange for Stephon Gilmore, but we don’t need to elaborate upon that. Low-hanging fruit.
What’s even more noteworthy is B/R’s suggestion for the Pittsburgh Steelers. New England’s AFC rival is in need of a pass rusher and Belichick’s defense has plenty of those.
The man in question? Chase Winovich.
Here’s what Chris Roling of Bleacher Report wrote of the potential pairing:
"“As expected, the Steelers lost franchise player Bud Dupree on the open market. While his season was cut short by injury, he still had eight sacks over 11 games and continued to be a core piece of the defensive puzzle.“Looking across the AFC to a team like New England might be able to help fill that void a bit. Chase Winovich played just 58 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps last year but had 5.5 sacks for the second season in a row.“After a roster reset, the Patriots might be willing to let a versatile piece like that go for the right price. It’s the type of low-cost move the Steelers are capable of making into a big win on the field given the unit Winovich would join.”"
Remember the “reports” suggesting the Patriots weren’t a fan of Winovich’s “attitude”? We’re unsure of the veracity of that, but the fact he wasn’t on the field as much as some fans expected did raise some concerns. Belichick is very much a certain way with younger players, but Winovich was relatively impactful on a struggling Patriots team in 2020. Why not play him more?
Then you look at the offseason additions of Kyle Van Noy and Matthew Judon in free agency as well as Ronnie Perkins in the NFL Draft … and it’s quite possible Winovich finds himself in an uphill battle for playing time once training camp arrives. Not to mention, the latest buzz indicates Josh Uche, Winovich’s former Michigan teammate, is slated for an expanded role in 2021.
Wino has been absent from minicamp, too, so that’s not going to help him. Despite his production across his first two NFL seasons (he’s played in all 32 games, registered 11 total sacks, 22 QB hits and 74 tackles while playing 29% of the snaps in 2019 and 58% in 2020), his playing time has fluctuated on a week-to-week basis. Why? We have no idea.
Belichick loves to use various packages to disguise his defense and put the opposing offense in a bind, but why would a capable pass rusher not be on the field as much as possible, especially during a 2020 season in which … Winovich was your sack leader?! Behind him was defensive tackle Adam Butler with four and defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. with 2.5. Something’s up, no?
Anyway, we’re sure the Patriots would take a 2022 fourth-round pick in exchange for Winovich, which is the proposal made by Roling. At the very least, keep this in mind, because the Steelers were interested in the former Michigan star back during the 2019 NFL Draft.