Proposed Trade Would Ship Mac Jones’ ‘Best Friend’ to the NFC

Getty Damien Harris, New England Patriots

The first big NFL trade of the season happened on Thursday when the Carolina Panthers shipped Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers. Could the New England Patriots follow suit?

Don’t expect the Patriots to pull off a blockbuster on the same level as a McCaffrey trade, but the idea of New England dealing one of their running backs has come up multiple times amongst media members.

The latest example came from NESN’s Dakota Randall, who wondered aloud if it was time for the Patriots to entertain trading running back Damien Harris. Harris has said he and quarterback Mac Jones are best friends with a relationship dating back to their days at Alabama.

McCaffrey is an all-world running back, though he has struggled to remain healthy.

Still, the Panthers retrieved a king’s ransom worth of draft picks from the title-hungry 49ers. In exchange for McCaffrey, the Panthers collected second, third, and fourth-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, plus a fifth-rounder in 2024. Harris wouldn’t draw that much in return, but if McCaffrey has set the market for running backs heading to title contenders looking for depth, the Patriots might want to check to see what they could get in return for Harris.


The Patriots Could Survive Without Damien Harris

After all, it appears New England is committed to second-year running back Rhamondre Stevenson as their bell cow moving forward. New England still needs depth at running back, which they seemingly have in the form of a couple of rookies: Pierre Strong Jr, Kevin Harris, and veteran J.J. Taylor.

Here is a proposed deal that could work for the Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.


Proposed Trade Sends Harris to the Rams

  • Patriots Get: 2023 Fourth 2024 Fifth-Round Pick
  • Rams Get: Damien Harris

The haul is much less than the McCaffrey price, but Harris has yet to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season during his career and has yet to establish himself as a strong performer in the passing game. However, he’s one of the better downhill runners in the NFL.

According to Pro Football Focus last season, Harris was the highest-graded running back in the NFL.

Harris would offer the Rams insurance for what has become a strained situation with Cam Akers. According to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, Akers was listed as the player on the Rams roster who is most likely to be dealt. The team has reportedly had disagreements about the way he’s being used.

The Rams might still need to replace his carries and impact, and Harris could be a perfect fit. The Rams and Patriots worked together on a trade for a running back in 2021 when New England dealt Sony Michel to Los Angeles.

The Patriots could obviously use the draft picks they could pick up from a deal with the Rams. Bill Belichick loves to move up and down the draft board. A fourth and fifth-round pick across the next two drafts might be handy as New England attempts to position itself to grab its favorite prospects.

We will see if the Patriots make any deadline deals, but things appear to be pointed in the right direction as they carry a two-game win streak into their Monday night matchup with the Chicago Bears.

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