Patriots top trade target gives another hint of wanting out from current team

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

Other discussed trade targets for the Patriots this offseason may be just fantasy now (Brandon Aiyuk and Tee Higgins), but possibly the biggest dream candidate of all is proven unhappy even further based on the latest reporting from NFL insider Adam Schefter.

Several teams have already begun their voluntary off-season workouts, including New England, and the Vikings are one of them. With the team facing a significant change in the wake of Kirk Cousins' departure, several rumors have suggested that Justin Jefferson may want out.

The receiver had made it clear he wanted to continue playing with Cousins, who signed with the Falcons in free agency after the Vikings chose not to re-sign him. Since then, they've looked to be doing all they can to improve their chances of moving up in the draft to acquire their next franchise player, with the Patriots as their rumored front-running hopeful trade partner.

Because it won't be cheap to trade up from the 11th pick to the third overall selection, the assumption has been that multiple first-rounders would have to be in the package. Some have even suggested including Jefferson in the trade, as he would be valued as a first-rounder and would allow the Vikings not to add more draft capital in the swap.

At first glance, it seems out of this world to even consider the idea that Jefferson would ever be traded since he is one of the best receivers in the league. But a lack of movement in contract negotiations to keep him in Minnesota long-term looks like a big problem, with Jefferson not showing up to OTAs this week.

Patriots top trade target gives another hint of wanting out from current team

Although it's a voluntary event, it's never a great look when an essential member of your team doesn't show up, even more so under the circumstances. Jefferson wants to remain with the team that drafted him but wants to be paid for his impact on their success, which is completely valid.

At the moment, it doesn't look like they've gotten far in making that happen, proving to be another sign for the Patriots to inquire about Jefferson's availability.

Acquiring the receiver would be a significant move in the right direction for New England, which has desperately needed a game-changing player of his caliber for years. He would instantly boost the offense's chance of being successful, no matter who the quarterback is, and they have all the money in the world to pay him next year and beyond.

The main issue in getting this deal done is the willingness of the Vikings to let Jefferson go, even though they seem to have found an impressive option to take over the receiving corps in Jordan Addison. And then there's the Patriots' willingness to engage in a trade-down scenario in this year's draft, forcing them to pass on a quarterback to turn around the offense.

It is reportedly a decision they are considering despite the glaring need for a new signal caller. And it would likely be the only way they could get Jefferson on the team since it really wouldn't make sense for the Vikings to give him up in any scenario but a trade-up.

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