Grade the Trade: Proposal has Patriots ship off rookie for dream wide receiver

Dallas Cowboys v New England Patriots
Dallas Cowboys v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

There were high expectations that the Patriots were going to make a big splash in free agency with a blockbuster trade for a top-name wide receiver, especially with Jerod Mayo and Eliot Wolf calling the shots, not Bill Belichick.

The new regime teased the idea of doing just that, with Mayo proclaiming his desire to "burn some cash" early in his tenure and Wolf revealing their exploration of the trade market for a receiver of that caliber before the draft.

Then there were the reports of the Patriots inquiring about getting a deal done during the draft, which never came to fruition. Instead, they double-dipped at the position by selecting Ja'Lynn Polk in the second round and Javon Baker in the fourth.

As great as those two might be for the offense, there still seems to be a void in the receiving corps that might only be fixed by trading for a game-changing receiver. That's why a new trade proposal revisits the idea of New England making a trade for 49ers' Brandon Aiyuk, who they were reportedly interested in during the draft weekend, but to no avail.

Trade proposal has the Patriots land Brandon Aiyuk for an unexpected trade package

Around the time of the draft, there was speculation about the Patriots sending their high second-round pick for Aiyuk since they clearly wouldn't give up their third overall selection in the first round. But the Niners allegedly want a first-rounder for the receiver and are unwilling to lower their price despite the stall of contract negotiations.

Assuming those conversations don't get any better over the summer, which looks to be the track they're on with Aiyuk not attending minicamp and posting about the team not wanting him, then the Patriots have every reason to make the call to GM John Lynch.

Matthew Davis of has the Patriots doing just that. They negotiate a deal to send rookie receiver Ja'Lynn Polk and a 2025 second-round pick to the 49ers for Aiyuk.

Grade the Trade 2

It's a unique trade package for the Patriots, considering they have yet to see Polk play a real NFL game and have only seen him on the practice field thus far. Because of that, it is somewhat of a risky move for both parties, but if the 49ers are trying to revamp their offense around Brock Purdy, it might be an enticing trade, especially if things don't improve with Aiyuk.

They just selected a receiver with the 31st overall pick by taking Ricky Pearsall, which was met with a lot of excitement. Along with that came questions regarding Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel's status with the team, as both had been allegedly the subject of trade talks during the draft.

If they can't reach a deal with Aiyuk, who reportedly wants a Justin Jefferson-like extension from the 49ers, the Patriots are a solid option. They can afford to add him to the roster now and to pay him with a new contract.

The Niners would get an exciting young receiver in return plus a possible high second-round pick since the Patriots aren't expected to win many games in 2024.

It will all come down to San Francisco's willingness to pay Aiyuk what he's worth and what he wants, while the Patriots will have to consider shipping off a rookie like Polk before seeing what he can bring to their offense.

So how would you grade this trade?

Our Grade: B-

On the surface, this is a great trade for the Patriots because they acquired a desirable talent in Brandon Aiyuk. However, the idea of giving up a receiver before knowing how he will fit into the offense, plus a potential high second-rounder, makes it easy to deduct a few points.

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