2 best trades Patriots must make before 2021 NFL Trade Deadline
The New England Patriots are in the midst of a second consecutive middling season in the post-Tom Brady era. After relying on former league MVP Cam Newton to run the show last season, the Patriots have since turned to former Alabama standout and rookie signal-caller Mac Jones under center.
Jones has had his ups and downs in his first NFL campaign while showing a legitimate amount of promise after the Patriots elected to choose him in the first round of the 2021 Draft as the 15th overall pick. Unfortunately, the team being built around Jones is developing rather slowly, which has pitted the Pats at 3-4 on the year and in second place in the AFC East.
Because the Patriots are unlikely to reach the postseason once again with the AFC absolutely stacked from top to bottom and the Buffalo Bills already more or less being crowned AFC East champion, coach Bill Belichick will surely have some decisions to make ahead of this year’s NFL trade deadline.
With Jones cemented in place under center and this team going nowhere fast, the future is now in New England.
New England Patriots Trades
Trade Jarrett Stidham
The Patriots have no doubt found the team’s quarterback of the future in Jones. This was not only evident when the team selected him in the NFL Draft, but even more abundantly clear when the squad parted ways with Newton prior to the start of the 2021 campaign.
— Meredith Gorman (@MereGorman) October 21, 2021
With a journeyman back-up in Brian Hoyer seated behind Jones on the depth chart, there is simply no need to have third-string quarterback Jarrett Stidham in New England. It once appeared, albeit briefly, as though Stidham could follow Brady as the QB of the future of the Patriots. But now, there is just nowhere that the up-and-comer fits in.
With the presence of Jones, who is cemented as the team’s starter, Stidham still hasn’t gotten his true shot at becoming a formidable quarterback. Perhaps nothing more than a change of scenery is needed to jumpstart his professional career. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, and Atlanta Falcons could all be potential suitors for the Patriots passer at the trade deadline.
With the Steelers having no choice but to begin preparing for life after longtime star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, taking a chance on Stidham at a low cost wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world, especially considering Big Ben’s play this season. In a similar boat, the Falcons won’t have starting QB Matt Ryan forever, so giving Stidham a shot might be something that could come in handy at practice.
Lastly, and the biggest longshot, the Lions are struggling so mightily that it honestly might already be time to move on from former Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff before coach Dan Campbell is the one ultimately held responsible.
Trade N’Keal Harry
The Patriots have a litany of wide receivers who are attempting to help their young stud in Jones. However, no one has been able to stand out, leaving the team with a top pass-catching target of tight end Hunter Henry.
Former Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith hasn’t helped much either, which has made pretty much all of the Patriots’ wideouts expendable at this point. As a result, they should ship the “best of the bunch” on paper out of town en route to getting the most draft capital in return.
That player could be wide receiver and former first round draft pick N’Keal Harry, who should at least get some interest or more from teams like the Las Vegas Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, and New Orleans Saints.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 24, 2021
With the Raiders playing extremely well, they must make sure that they keep pace not only with the Chiefs and the surging Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC West, but also the slew of talented squads in the AFC.
On the other hand, the Chiefs and Saints will both be vying for playoff spots and will need all the help they can get down the final stretch of the regular season—one with an extra game this time around. Kansas City is currently struggling and could use an offensive boost, while New Orleans is facing the tough task of chasing Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.