Popular trade candidate appears safe to stay with Patriots before deadline

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Since the Patriots aren't exactly a team filled with players that teams around the league would be clamoring for, only a handful of names have been discussed as potential trade targets come deadline day. Among those names has consistently been Kyle Dugger, the standout safety who has become a pillar of the Patriots' defense since being drafted in 2020.

With the deadline now just hours away, he remains a name that teams will be inquiring about in the hopes that New England will be big-time sellers as the rest of their season looks bleak. But it seems that Bill Belichick revealed that will not be in the cards for Dugger when he spoke with WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" on Monday morning.

Within the conversation pertaining to the roster and potential trades, the head coach was explicitly asked about Dugger and if he'd like to see him stay with the Patriots beyond the current season, which is the final year of the safety's contract.

Belichick responded emphatically, saying, "Yeah, of course. Absolutely." which may indicate his plans to re-sign Dugger once the time comes. He was further asked if those conversations had occurred yet, but he refused to provide any details about contract negotiations.

Given the amount of players heading to free agency in 2024, players like Dugger must be prioritized and given an extension sooner rather than later. If teams are interested in him now, that will only increase when free agency begins next year. That may make retaining him more difficult, primarily since Belichick is not known for dishing out big contracts to any player, no matter their value to the team.

It's not expected for Belichick to actually get that done as soon as possible, but he should for the sole purpose of keeping a talented player around longer and maintaining consistency for a potentially dominant defense next season.