Veteran players the Patriots might look to trade at the deadline

If the season's lost, these players can be traded
Chicago Bears v New England Patriots
Chicago Bears v New England Patriots / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The New England Patriots are beginning yet another new era in the past five years. This time, it's
punctuated by third-overall pick quarterback Drake Maye on whom any hopes of a winning season reside. As Maye goes, so go the Patriots.

Should Maye start, the team has a chance. If not, prepare for another swift trip to the bottom of the AFC East. A separate issue will be the team's stance at the trade deadline on November 5, following week nine’s games. The team will have played the full nine games by then, and the season's outlook will be clear.

If the team persists in slow-marching Maye to the forefront, the prediction here is that the season will be toast by that time and trades will be the order of the day.

Here, we’ll look at seven trade candidates (should they make and/or still be on the team by then) in light of that eventuality. Should Maye start from the outset, all bets are off.

Several offensive players may be candidates for a trade

Starting with offense first up would be JuJu Smith-Schuster, an older wide receiver who signed a
big contract in 2023 and did little, likely due to injury last season. Absent a top season, a healthy Smith-Schuster may be attractive to a contending team if he plays decently. Unfortunately, he has a huge dead money cap hit, but he’s on the list anyway.

Tyquan Thornton, a former second-round reach, has flopped in New England thus far. He'd also be a candidate. Hopefully, he’ll be catching at least a few balls, and some teams may see gold, whereas the Pats have seen little. Just don't expect much in the way of a return.

Another candidate would be a shocker, running back Rhamondre Stevenson. Stevenson is a top
back when healthy. Yet, he’s in the last season of his rookie deal and has not been extended. If the season's toast and he’s had a good nine games, he’d be a possibility and would probably fetch the best return of any trade candidate.

Lastly, on offense, is former first-round pick Cole Strange. Strange was a monster of a draft reach and hasn’t come close to justifying that lofty pick. If healthy, he can be traded to a solid team looking for guard depth due to injury. The Pats have stocked up on guards, and he’s expendable. They can always blame that reach on Bill Belichick.

Defensive players the Pats can unload at the deadline

On defense, several players will be eminently tradeable. First up is defensive tackle, Davon Godchaux. He’s paid big money with a monstrous cap hit of $11.8M. That’s way too costly for a one-dimensional, run-stuffer. He’s also in the last year of his contract. It would be time to cut ties if the Pats are out of the running.

The suggestion is to roll with two pocket-collapsing young players inside, Christian Barmore and Keion White. That makes Godchaux, a dependable but not glossy player, of possible interest to a team with a need on the interior defensive line.

Other defensive players include two inconsistent edge players. One is Joshua Uche, a former second-round pick and pass rusher on a one-year deal. The other is Anfernee Jennings, an outside linebacker type and former third-rounder on the last year of his contract. Should either flash at all this season, just cut ties for whatever draft compensation you can get, and move on.

That's a list of players who can be traded at the November 5 deadline if the Patriots are out of the running. If they’re still in the hunt, as noted, they must have done something right, i.e., started Drake Maye, and additions rather than subtractions would be the order of the day.

Patriot Nation will see what eventuates, but don’t expect miracles unless … Maye is the starting quarterback from the outset. Like Mac Jones in 2021, who knows how far even a rookie might take the team, even with the admittedly sub-standard group around him. A dual-threat quarterback with pocket-escapability, arm strength, and running ability, Maye will make anything possible.

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