Patriots miss out on veteran pass rusher traded for pennies to the 49ers

San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos
San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

The Patriots suffered a significant loss as Matthew Judon went down with a torn biceps injury in week four against the Dallas Cowboys. The news got even worse later in the week when it was announced he would require surgery and miss most of, if not the remainder of the 2023 season.

As the team was dealing with how to fill the massive void left by the leading pass rusher, who appeared well on his way to having a career-best season, rumors began to swirl about the possibility of a trade for Broncos' veteran linebacker Randy Gregory.

It had been announced that he was set to be released by Denver earlier this week after the team failed to find a trade partner. But it appears that is no longer the case, as NFL insider Tom Pelissero reported on Friday afternoon that they had not officially cut Gregory and would be trading him to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 6th-round pick.

It is the latest trade for virtually nothing in return that the Patriots missed out on, with the last one occurring just a few hours ago involving wide receiver Chase Claypool and the Dolphins.

Fortunately, New England may not be in dire need of a Judon replacement as much as it was previously considered because they intend to increase rookie Keion White's usage in his absence. Also, Josh Uche has become a rising star of the defense, with the best season of his career taking place last year, and we've seen some good work from Ja'Whaun Bentley and Deatrich Wise so far this season.

If they can utilize their in-house players rather than needing to look outside of the team to bridge the gap of Judon, that's the best-case scenario, not just from a cap space standpoint but a roster one, too.

Uche is in the last year of his contract, and this may give him more opportunities to prove he deserves to remain a Patriot for years to come. Hopefully, he can recreate or even build upon what he accomplished last year and be an adequate stand-in for Judon along with Bentley and Wise.