Despite knowing that Bill Belichick is known for trading back in the first round of each NFL draft, there was a lot of hope amongst fans that the Patriots would stay put at pick 14 this year, mainly due to the talent that would be available and the positional voids needing to be addressed.
Of course, as history has repeatedly shown, the Patriots traded back from pick 14 to pick 17 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although on the surface, it didn't appear as anything out of the ordinary, upon further review, however, it was fairly obvious why Belichick chose to make the move.
Before the Jets and Packers made the blockbuster trade of Aaron Rodgers, New York was set with pick 13, just one spot ahead of the Patriots. Because both teams needed similar players, particularly offensive tackle, and would be available to them at the time of their selection, there was discussion regarding the Patriots potentially moving up to acquire one of those said players.
But that changed upon the completion of the trade with Green Bay, moving Rodgers' former team to the Jets' former pick and moving the Jets back to pick 15, which was the Packers' original spot.
This is what two anonymous general managers, who recently spoke to The Washington Post, believe is the real motivation for Belichick's decision to trade back.
It wasn't because of the talent that fell to them at pick 14.
It wasn't because it was a move that Belichick has consistently done over the years.
It was because the Steelers could get the last top-ranked offensive tackle of the first round, thus allowing him to get one over on the Jets once again.
When discussing the Patriots and Steelers trade, which involved Pittsburgh including a fourth-rounder to move up the three spots, one GM believed Belichick took a discount return in order to mess with the Jets.
"They should have had to give up a [third-round pick] and not a four to move up there. Belichick did it just to f--- the Jets. He sold low because he knew the Steelers were going to take the kid the Jets wanted to take."
A personnel executive from a different team seemed to agree.
"Bill will try to screw them over any chance he gets. He knew exactly what he was doing."
Considering the past between the Jets and Belichick, it wouldn't be surprising if this motivated the move. And who doesn't love to see a good divisional rivalry continue, even in the offseason?