Somehow, the NFL trade deadline is already sneaking up on us. The deadline is on Nov. 1, a day after Week 8 ends. For the New England Patriots, it appeared in the early stages of the season that they could end up being a seller ahead of the deadline.
They opened up the year 1-3 with their starting quarterback hurt. But they’ve quickly turned the tide on their season, improving to 3-3 with dominant victories over Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns before as they enter a favorable stretch of their schedule.
With New England potentially making a playoff push, here are a pair of trades they should make in order to help them get there.
Trade Isaiah Wynn
It’s pretty clear that the fifth-year offensive tackle’s time in New England has run its course.
After some decent play at left tackle in the first four seasons of his career, in which he only played half of the possible regular season games due to injury, Wynn hasn’t had a good year at all at right tackle. The 2018 first-round pick seems to make multiple mistakes each week. For starters, he leads the league in penalties committed with seven, getting called for holding four times and a false start three times.
The penalties would be salvageable if his play was exceptional or even good. But it’s hard to argue that it has been so far in the 2022 season. Wynn’s allowed 13 pressures and three sacks, two of which led to fumbles. His pass-blocking grades on Pro Football Focus have been comically low, too. In the Patriots’ Week 6 win over the Browns, PFF gave him a pass-blocking grade of five … out of 100. Yikes.
Myles Garrett flips to the right side (he normally comes off the left) and abuses Isaiah Wynn. Fumble is upheld. #Browns take over in #Patriots territory. Wynn has a pre-snap penalty & now this. We're still in the 1st Quarter. pic.twitter.com/GW3YchnGSH
— Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) October 16, 2022
There’s obviously some talent there with Wynn, who was serviceable at left tackle when he was available prior to his switch to right tackle this season. He still grades well as a run blocker, and the Patriots’ ground game over the last couple of seasons is evidence of that. He has a 75.2 run-blocking grade on PFF and teams have reportedly seen potential in Wynn as a guard. The Patriots are in a good spot at guard with Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu each having solid seasons, so there isn’t much else New England can do with Wynn.
The only issue Patriots run into is that Wynn’s entire salary, which is worth $10.4 million, is fully guaranteed this season. So, the Patriots would need whoever they trade would trade him to eat some – if not all – of the salary in order for them to create cap space. New England likely wouldn’t get much in return in compensation if that were to happen, but the cap space could be more valuable at this point. It could sign another offensive tackle for depth purposes or even get into the Odell Beckham Jr. sweepstakes if it wanted to.
Bill Belichick's Doghouse, Volume 1,782
Isaiah Wynn allowed this stripsack of Bailey Zappe at the end of the first quarter by Myles Garrett. Belichick sat him for the entire second quarter. pic.twitter.com/mKMFfvnZ39
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) October 17, 2022
The Patriots could also use the cap savings to make another trade …
Trade for an edge rusher
New England doesn’t have any huge roles on its roster at the moment, but it certainly has areas it can improve. One of the areas it can make an improvement at is at linebacker, specifically outside linebacker.
Matthew Judon has held down his end of the bargain so far this season, recording six sacks through the first six games. Outside of him though, the Patriots haven’t had that much great play in their front seven. Defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. is arguably having the best season of his six-year career, recording five sacks (tying a career-high). But three of those came in the Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, who were down multiple offensive tackles in that game due to injury.
Outside of Judon and Wise, no one else on the Patriots’ roster has recorded multiple sacks through the first six games. Players like Josh Uche and Anferenee Jennings on the outside and Christian Barmore and Davon Godchaux on the inside have had their moments as pass rushers, but none of them have been too consistent in that regard.
Panthers Pro Bowl edge rusher Brian Burns certainly seems to be the top prize on the market ahead of the deadline. Carolina is reportedly asking for two first-round picks for Burns, who has 22 sacks since 2020.
Brian Burns speed is different 🤧 pic.twitter.com/yLaygcx71x
— Robert 💔💔 (@RobertRaymond46) October 22, 2022
Is that too much of a price to pay for a Patriots team that doesn’t seem to be a Super Bowl contender or is it worth it because of Burns’ elite talent? You could certainly make an argument for both, though it seems tough to imagine that Burns alone would be able to help the Patriots make up ground between them and the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. However, the surprising play from Jonathan Jones and Jack Jones at corner so far this season paired with the pass-rushing ability of Judon and Burns could make the Patriots’ defense one of the league’s best and in theory, be able to go head-to-head with the Bills’ and Chiefs’ passing attacks.
Brian Burns is so good pic.twitter.com/fsEVgG3Zkw
— swade (@swadefb) October 18, 2022
Bears defensive end Robert Quinn could be another possibility for the Patriots. He likely wouldn’t cost as much as Burns would though he is 32 and would likely be more of a win-now move than a long-term investment.