Two Patriots' playmakers lead trade speculations before start of the season

New England Patriots v Green Bay Packers
New England Patriots v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

With Patriots mini camp nearing, many are beginning to speculate what moves Bill Belichick may make to the roster heading into the regular season.

Of course, it's only May, and discussing a player's future with a team is a bit ridiculous, especially suggesting that they are atop the list of names who will likely be traded. But that is where we are in the offseason, apparently, as ESPN's Bill Barnwell wrote about in his latest article this week.

When discussing the Patriots' 2023 season, Barnwell named receivers DeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne as the top candidates to be traded before week one, but the emphasis was certainly on Bourne specifically.

"Parker and Bourne don’t play special teams in New England, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were competing for a roster spot in camp,” wrote Barnwell, who singled out Bourne as the more likely trade candidate.

Bill Belichick probably has too many secondary and tertiary options in his passing game. Given how Bourne fell out of favor with the organization last season, I wonder whether the Patriots would consider moving him for help elsewhere, like possible offensive line depth. Bourne is making a reasonable $5.5 million in 2023, none of which is guaranteed. Could he end up somewhere like Houston, especially if John Metchie III — who is expected to return after missing 2022 with leukemia — doesn’t start the season on the active roster?"

Bourne is no stranger to trade rumors since arriving in New England, being the subject of most of them last season primarily due to the tension between him and Matt Patricia. And although it inevitably didn't happen, he was still not utilized within the offense in any manner, even to disprove the speculation.

But now that Bill O'Brien will be calling offensive plays; Bourne will likely have a better shot at contributing on the field once again. He is only one season removed from nearly leading the team with 800 yards and five touchdowns. His chances of returning to that production have increased with the changing of coaches on the sidelines, but he will undoubtedly have much to prove throughout the summer.

As for Parker, the suggestion that his position on the team is not secure can also be argued either way. It was obvious that Belichick liked him, considering he made the effort to trade for him last season. But he, too, didn't have the best of seasons in 2022, which included missing three of the last four games due to an injury.

Training camp and preseason will inevitably be watched under a microscope. The entire team has a lot of making up to do for last season, including Bourne and Parker. Nevertheless, there's an opening for them to solidify their roles further, with Jakobi Meyers signing elsewhere this offseason, which they should both take advantage of.