Much of the changes the Patriots will be undergoing this offseason will be focused on the offense in its entirety. In addition to bringing in a new offensive coordinator and potentially other new coaches, Bill Belichick has a good amount of money to spend in free agency, similar to the infamous spree of the 2021 offseason.
But how should he spend that money?
Considering the list of needs on both sides of the ball, many holes on the roster will more than probably be filled via the draft. However, because he hasn’t had the best luck when selecting rookie receivers, it may be better to trade for the missing WR1 instead of drafting one.
There have been several bombshell trades of big-name receivers over the last few years, with Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams making the biggest headlines just last year. Because the Patriots are likely looking for their own flashy receiver, there are a few they should consider making a trade for once free agency begins.
Although many doubt Belichick would ever participate in a massive trade to get a top receiver in the league, this offseason has already begun vastly different than in years past.
It has been reported that Robert Kraft is more involved in the happenings of the offseason, including the search for an offensive coordinator. With that in mind, It wouldn’t seem out of line to believe he would like to see a trade for a top-name receiver, especially given his reported unhappiness with missing the postseason once again.
This may be the year we see Belichick make the move many have been hoping to see for quite some time, and there are four potential WR candidates he could be interested in acquiring.
Receivers the Patriots should consider trading for this offseason
CONTRACT: Signed through 2024
2022 STATS: Nine games – 64 receptions, 717 yards, three touchdowns, 11.2 YPC
CAP SPACE IMPLICATIONS FOR 2023: Base salary – $19,450,000 | Cap hit – $30,750,000
The most discussed option for the Patriots to trade for this year began when New England visited the Cardinals in week 14. A video of Bill Belichick sharing praise with DeAndre Hopkins pre-game circulated online, sparking the interest of the accomplished receiver winding up with the team for next season.
Although the interaction was nothing new for Belichick, looking into the details of Hopkins’ contract made the idea far more intriguing, mainly due to how plausible it could be.
Like the situation Hopkins found himself in with the Texans, the receiver has already earned all his guaranteed money from his contract with Arizona. Because of the team’s uncertainty going forward, as they deal with hiring a new head coach and GM and the absence of their starting quarterback due to injury, Hopkins may be looking to start fresh somewhere else.
If that’s the case, there’s no reason for Belichick not to kick the tires again on a potential trade.
The Texans sent Arizona both a 2020 second-round and 2021 fourth-round draft picks, along with running back David Johnson, to get Hopkins off the books. A similar deal would be possible if the Patriots want to acquire an easy WR1.
Additionally, the Cardinals have 31 players set to hit the free agent market on March 15th, which could result in the decision to trade Hopkins for the cap space increase.
Note: Hopkins does have a no-trade clause, so he would have to agree to be traded to New England.
Cardinals’ details for trading Hopkins this offseason after 6/1:
2023 Dead Cap: $11,300,000
2024 Dead Cap: $11,300,000
2023 Cap savings if Hopkins is traded: $19,450,000
Cap space available for 2023: $15,724,338