Nick Folk trade shows Bill Belichick once again a step ahead

Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots place kicker Nick Folk (6) warms
Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots place kicker Nick Folk (6) warms / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday afternoon, the New England Patriots traded away veteran kicker Nick Folk to the Tennessee Titans for a 2025 seventh-round pick. The move was not surprising, considering the Patriots drafted Chad Ryland in the fourth round of the NFL Draft this year. The writing was on the wall for Folk, as he is 38 years old and nearing the end of his career.

The trade of Folk and the fact that the Patriots got value for him shows that Bill Belichick is once again a step ahead. 

The Patriot's time with Folk was well spent, and Folk has been excellent for them since he joined the team in 2019. Folk was quietly one of the best kickers in the NFL and the most consistent. In the last four seasons, Folk hit 89.3% of his kicks, and he never missed a kick inside 40 yards. He was virtually automatic in short distances for the Patriots. Folk’s tenure was a hit for Belichick as he found the perfect replacement for Stephen Gostkowski.

The only downside of Folk was his inability to kick past 40 yards. Over the past few seasons, the Patriots have not trusted Folk to kick past 50 yards, which has cost them at certain points. This is why the Patriots drafted Ryland because he has a strong leg. The Ryland pick was classic Belichick, as he was getting the transition at kicker ready to go. This has been a staple in Belichick's tenure with the Patriots, as he almost always has transition plans in place at positions.

The Folk trade shows that Belichick is once again a step ahead because he has his replacement ready, and he got value for him. Ryland may or may not turn out to be a good player, but Belichick did succeed in getting value for a 38-year-old kicker who is in the twilight of his career.

Ultimately, it will be interesting to see how Ryland and Folk perform this season.