The NFL Trade Deadline is 24 hours away. The New England Patriots beat the New York Jets for the 13th straight time to move their record to 4-4. They are a half-game out of a playoff spot in the AFC.
Things aren’t perfect at quarterback, as Mac Jones was shaky again on Sunday against the Jets’ tough defense, and the run defense is still showing some holes. It’s decision time for the Patriots: are they buyers or sellers?
We don’t know for sure, but many experts believe the team should be a little bit of both at this point. I proposed a trade that would land the Patriots the Chicago Bears‘ Roquan Smith, an elite linebacker to help with their run defense.
Admittedly, that one is perhaps a little too splashy for New England, though there is no doubt Smith could pay some major dividends if the Patriots acquired him. NFL insider Albert Breer recently appeared on NBC Sports Boston and had a few perhaps safer trade options for the Patriots to explore.
The Patriots are getting ready to take on the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough next week, but a trade between the two teams could make that contest much more interesting if Breer’s concept takes place.
Breer Calls Bobby Okereke a ‘Fascinating’ Potential Addition
Breer called 26-year-old linebacker Bobby Okereke a “fascinating” potential trade option for the Patriots. He also mentions the Carolina Panthers’ Shaq Thompson but admits his salary might be a little too rich.
Okereke is coming off a career year with the Colts in 2021. He had 132 combined tackles and two interceptions (one against the Patriots in Week 15 off Jones). He’s playing well again in 2022, though the Colts are struggling as a team as they have dropped two straight and sit at 3-4-1.
Indianapolis has just benched their veteran starting quarterback Matt Ryan in favor of Sam Ehlinger, and Breer believes the team could be going into tank mode. Owner Jim Irsay is seemingly trying to find his next franchise quarterback, and adding draft assets could help him on that quest.
Okereke is in a contract year on a very team-friendly pact of four years, $3.6 million. He is in line for a major raise in 2023, when the Patriots will have more cap flexibility if they choose to pursue extending the relationship.
Could New England convince the Colts to deal them Okereke for a fifth-round pick?
What Might Okereke Cost the Patriots?
Edge rushers like Robert Quinn of the Bears, who is expensive but also coming off an 18-sack season, was just traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round pick. Former 1,000-yard rusher James Robinson was picked up by the Jets from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a conditional sixth-round pick. It stands to reason the Patriots might be able to add Okereke for a fifth-round selection.
Okereke’s athleticism would be a major addition to the Patriots’ defense, which still lacks the speed to deal with athletic quarterbacks. This was evident in the Week 7 loss to the Bears when Justin Fields ran wild with 81 yards on the ground.
Okereke has also proved to be solid against traditional run plays and in coverage. His versatility might be exactly what the Patriots defense needs. If they can lock him up for a few seasons beyond this year, it could be a deal that pays off now and later.