The New England Patriots are 0-2 and are closer to being sellers at the deadline than being buyers. Should they consider trading these three players? It's not too early to think about the Patriots blowing this thing up if something doesn't change soon. The team has one of the toughest schedules in the NFL.
Coming up in the next few weeks, they have to face the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, and obviously have four total games against the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. It's not going to be an easy slate of matchups for the Pats, who have been in both games, but just do not have enough talent to close these games out.
Should they already be considering moving players at the trade deadline to acquire draft picks? Well, it makes sense. They're also projected to have a ton of cap space next offseason, so being equipped with both draft capital and money to spend would be a great set-up for a rebuild. Let's go over three players who should be traded at the 2023 NFL trade deadline if the Patriots are sellers.
3 players the New England Patriots could trade at the deadline in 2023
1. Kendrick Bourne, WR
Kendrick Bourne is most definitely not going to be back with the Patriots next year. There seemed to be some indication that the team could have moved on from him this offseason, but it didn't happen. However, Bourne is an easy target to justify moving. He's a free agent at the end of the year, and both JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker signed contracts more recently than Bourne.
The Patriots also have three young receivers in Demario Douglas, Kayshon Boutte, and Tyquan Thornton in the mix, so I don't really believe Bourne will have much of a role on this team in 2024. The Pats could fetch a late-round pick for him if they decide to sell at the deadline, and even a late-round pick is better than letting him leave next year for nothing.
2. Hunter Henry, TE
Hunter Henry is off to a great start in 2023, already with two scores and over 100 receiving yards. He's also a free agent at the end of the year and was a part of the huge 2021 free agent class that came to the New England Patriots. Henry playing well not only helps Mac Jones and the offense, but it boosts his trade value as well. I also think there are less talented tight ends in the NFL than other offensive positions, so Henry might carry more value because he's a very good receiving threat at the position.
The team will have Mike Gesicki under contract through this year, so it's not like they'd deplete their TE room by moving Henry, who had a solid first year but shaky second year in New England. I bet Henry could fetch a mid-round pick if traded in 2023.
3. Matthew Judon, EDGE
One of the most valuable positions in the NFL is pass rusher, and Matthew Judon is one of the better ones in the NFL. Judon is also entering his third season with the Pats and already has 2.0 sacks and 4 QB hits on the season. That currently puts him on pace for 17 sacks and 34 QB hits in 2023, which would be the most productive year of his career.
Being that he has just this year and next year left on his contract, is over 30 years old, and plays a premium position, the Patriots could get a nice pick back for his services. The team also has two young EDGE rushers in Keion White and Josh Uche. Those two would fit more into the timeline of the team rebuilding when/if that happens.
Matthew Judon seems to be a fan favorite and has been marvelously productive for the Patriots, but at the end of the day, the NFL is a business, and moving Judon at the deadline could make some sense.