The Patriots almost traded with a different team in the first round of the 2023 draft

2023 NFL Draft - Round 1
2023 NFL Draft - Round 1 / David Eulitt/GettyImages

A lot was riding on the Patriots with their first-round pick of this year's draft, mainly due to the number of talented players available to them at pick 14.

As we know, Bill Belichick followed his usual routine of trading down despite what most believed was not the best decision. So New England traded with the Pittsburgh Steelers to acquire pick 17 and another fourth-rounder.

But that was apparently not their only potential trading partner.

The Washington Commanders released a video on Friday showing their war room from round one. The video shows the team's general manager, Martin Mayhew, calling the Patriots to discuss a round-one trade.

The Commanders were also looking at selecting a cornerback early, but fortunately for the Patriots, it was not Christian Gonzalez but another talented player the Patriots had met with, Emmanuel Forbes.

Once on the phone with New England's director of scouting, Eliot Wolf, Mayhew asked if they would be interested in moving down from pick 14 to 16, just one spot ahead of where they inevitably traded back to.

Initially, the conversation went well, with Wolf agreeing to make the trade back, with the Commanders throwing in pick 118 to sweeten the deal. But things fell short when he asked for a third-rounder in return.

Mayhew responded, unsure of their desire to add such a high pick in the deal, saying he would talk to head coach Ron Rivera to get his take on the idea. However, since they were targeting Forbes in the first round, Washington saw how the chips were falling in the draft and began not to feel comfortable with the idea of the cornerback remaining on the board by the Patriots' selection at 14.

Wolf returned and offered to throw in a sixth-rounder in hopes of getting the deal done, but the Commanders weren't biting.

“I don’t think we want to give up that third-rounder,” Mayhew told Rivera.

"No, we don't," Rivera replied.

So the deal never went through, and the Patriots were able to still trade with the Steelers and get the player they wanted all along, as did the Commanders, who stayed with their original pick and selected Forbes.

It's always interesting to see the inner workings of what goes on behind the scenes during a time like the NFL draft, especially with the Patriots, as they are historically tight-lipped about basically everything.

It's also incredible to see how despite the dramatics of the first round this year, several teams were able to get the players they initially hoped for much later than their projections, including the Patriots with Gonzalez. He was not supposed to make it out of the top ten, yet he fell in their laps at pick 17 and is already being discussed as a potential defensive rookie of the year candidate.