Through seven weeks, it is tough to find a weakness with the unbeaten New England Patriots. Their defense is suffocating, their offense is putting up over 30 points per game, and Tom Brady continues to show he is the best ever at his craft.
But a look deeper reveals New England has a dire need on the offensive side of the ball. The Patriots’ offensive line has really struggled this season, though the stats might not show it. The solution to fixing these problems may come in the form of a trade for perennial Pro Bowler Trent Williams.
Much of that struggle comes from injuries to key starters like center David Andrews and left tackle Isaiah Wynn. In their place, Ted Karras and Marshall Newhouse have respectively struggled.
Newhouse has been especially bad, allowing four sacks, seven QB hits, and two pressures through six weeks while taking a pair of holding penalties. With a 42-year-old quarterback under center, it is imperative to give him the protection he needs in the pocket.
That was never more apparent than against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. Brady was constantly hurried, the pocket collapsing nearly every time, and Brady made some rushed throws just to get rid of the ball and avoid being sacked or hit.
It’s time for New England to protect their greatest asset and bring in a proven veteran at left tackle in Williams.
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Rushing Game Would Improve
Sure, Sony Michel scored three touchdowns against the Jets to tie a career-high. But on a sequence in the first half, the Patriots failed to score from the two yard-line on two consecutive runs before finally punching one in from the half yard-line.
The Patriots were battered without a pair of tight ends and both fullbacks on injured reserve and had to use linebacker Elandon Roberts as a blocker along with swing tackle Jermaine Eluemunor.
Some of that inability to run the ball stems from Ted Karras’ adjustment to a new position. New England has a 55 percent rush power up the middle this season. The right side is even more shocking, only a 33 percent rush power index.
Somehow, the left side remains at 100 percent but seven total negative plays have come on that side through six games. The Redskins, behind Trent Williams, led the league in rush power index on runs to the left side at 91 percent last season. The Patriots, with Trent Brown, were 30th at 44 percent to the left side.
If New England is looking to jumpstart the running game, Williams would certainly help steady the line.
Should New England Take a Chance?
At the end of the day, the Patriots would have to decide over bringing in a 31-year-old rental at left tackle who hasn’t played since December and doing so at a high cost. Williams may require a first or second-round pick from New England in addition to a player.
The Patriots would likely part ways with either Marshall Newhouse or Korey Cunningham, so including one of them in the trade could help free up a little extra cap space. Both tackles virtually assume around the same cap hit in the neighborhood of $600,000.
Williams rarely allows pressure on the quarterback and has been one of the top left tackles in the game since entering the league. His presence improves the running and passing games, according to Pro Football Focus.
Since Williams is only set to make around $2 million this season, the Patriots would be able to afford him with very little tinkering to the roster to free up space. Despite his age, Williams would be a worthy target for New England to add at the deadline, and it can’t come soon enough.