The New England Patriots are 6-0 and at this point in the year have only had one game where they have not won by fewer than 10 points. So why would the Patriots need to trade? The wide receiving corps are banged up with Phillip Dorsett having a hamstring issue, Josh Gordon has a knee and ankle injury and Julian Edelman has been playing through a chest injury. Brady has only two fully healthy receivers, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olzewski, who are both undrafted rookies and have combined for 10 receptions for 154 yards, with Meyers having 8 receptions and 120 yards. Also, since Rob Gronkowski has left there has been a large hole at the tight end position. Matt LaCosse has only had 3 receptions for 44 yards and Ryan Izzo has 6 receptions for 114 yards. The Patriots did resign Ben Watson but he is far past his prime at 38 years old. So who should the Patriots target?
The Patriots have had their eye on Sanders for a few years now. They offered him a contract when he left the Steelers in 2014 but he ended up joining the Denver Broncos instead. Sanders is 32 and is a year removed from a torn Achilles. Although he had the Achilles injury last year, he has logged 30 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns in 7 games. Pretty solid for a guy who just tore his Achilles last year and has played in an offense who is ranked 25th in the league in total offense. Denver is expected to trade Sanders before the October 29th deadline and would most likely want a second or third round pick for the two-time pro bowler. Sanders would be a good trade for the Patriots if he can stay healthy.
Green has not played all season due to an ankle injury. He is not expected back until October 29th, the day of the trade deadline. Even though head coach Zac Taylor said they are not trading their superstar wide receiver, they are 0-7 and at the bottom of the league. It would be best to get Green out for a pick and move on to a rebuild. When Green has been healthy, he has been one of the best receivers in the league. He is a seven-time pro bowler and at 31 years old, he has 602 career receptions for 8,907 yards and 63 touchdowns. He has done all of this with Andy Dalton as his quarterback, who is one of the worst in the league. Over the past few years however, Green has had injury issues however. He had turf toe in 2014 and missed three games, a concussion in 2014 as well, forcing him to miss the Wild Card game, he tore his right hamstring in week 11 in 2016 forcing him to miss the rest of that season, he missed 7 total games last year with a toe sprain and now he hasn’t played at all this year because of an ankle injury. Given his injury history, it may be a risky trade. But Green has a lot of upside and with Brady could be one of the best receivers in the league once again. It would most likely be a first, second or third round pick for Green in order to pry him from Cincinnati.
Sanu has been with the Atlanta Falcons since 2016 and he has been a solid receiver for them. He has racked up 225 receptions, 2,507 yards, and 14 touchdowns in three and a half years with Atlanta. Sanu has been pretty durable throughout his career only missing two games since his rookie season where he sustained a pedal foot fracture and played in only nine games that season. At 30 years old, Sanu still has a few years left in him and he has barely been hurt at all during his career. Sanu could be a good addition player who could come in at a reduced price since the Falcons are struggling at 1-5 and they also have probably the best receiver in the game in Julio Jones and one of the best young players in the league in Calvin Ridley. They could offload Sanu for a low price or a player like Michael Bennett, who has been a thorn in the side of the Patriots since he arrived earlier this year.
Since coming out of Notre Dame in 2013 as a first round pick, Eifert has failed to live up to expectations. He has only played 10 games or more in only two seasons since he entered the league. He has had two season ending injuries as well as other injuries that have kept him out of games during the season. He has made the pro bowl only once and the year he did he missed six games. Given the injury history, the Patriots are unlikely to take a risk on Eifert. But the Bengals are winless this season and could offload him for near nothing. If he can stay healthy, which is not likely, he can be a top tight end in the league. He is only 29 and he could be worth the risk.
O.J. Howard was a first round pick in 2017 out of Alabama. Howard has been a good target for Jameis Winston since he arrived in Tampa Bay scoring 11 touchdowns in the first two years of his career, which he played 22 games. This year however he has been underutilized by the Bucs and has only had 18 targets for 176 yards and zero touchdowns. The Buccaneers have been said they will not trade Howard but it seems and the Patriots inquired about Howard but were shot down. It is possible he could be traded and if he were to be traded, it would cost because he is only 24 and has many years ahead of him.
Hooper was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He has been in Atlanta every year so far. In his four years with the Falcons, he has been a reliable target for Matt Ryan and has accumulated at least 500 yards in 3 out of the 4 years he has been in Atlanta, including this year where he already has 526 yards and is averaging 11.6 yards per reception. He is in the last year of his contract with the Falcons and the Patriots, who are looking for some tight end help could be able to entice Atlanta enough to send him to New England. Atlanta has a young team and they are going to need to splash out some money on other players sooner rather than later. Players like Vic Beasley Jr. Adrian Clayborn,and De’vondre Campbell are all up after this year just to name a few. The Patriots would have to pay the price for the Stanford product however. It may take a first or second round pick for Hooper since he is only 24 and is evolving into a top tight end in the league.
Okay, I know this already did not work out. Yes he was a major issue with the Patriots and it just did not seem to work. However, Brown has shown interest in coming back to New England and why not give it a shot? The sexual assault charges were dropped on the Federal level and in the one game he played in New England, he looked good catching 4 passes for 54 yards including a touchdown. Yes this is unlikely but there are no other options he needs a look. The receiving unit is very badly banged up and who knows how well N’Keal Harry will perform. Everyone knows he comes with a lot, and I mean a lot of baggage, but he is insanely talented and well rested. He will cost nothing since he is not on a team and he was right, we have to pay him so why not play him?