The New England Patriots secondary was supposed to be a weakness of the team’s roster this season. Through six games, that hasn’t proven to be the case.
In fact, the Patriots secondary is seemingly being seen as an area of depth for New England.
So much so veteran safety Jabril Peppers, who was signed this offseason, is being mentioned in trade speculation surrounding the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
The Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski identified Peppers as one of three players that make sense for the Eagles to target in a potential trade.
“When the Eagles lost Chauncey Gardner-Johnson for a brief period during their win over the Cowboys Sunday night, their lack of safety depth was exposed,” Kempski wrote.
The Eagles were hit over the top with a few big plays by the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night in a game the Eagles would win 26-17. The Cowboys’ Cooper Rush connected with receiver Jake Ferguson on a 25-yard completion that set up a Dallas TD just two plays after Gardner-Johnson went down with an injury in the third quarter. Dallas would almost overcome a 20-3 halftime deficit trimming the lead to 20-17 in the second half before the Eagles put it away in the fourth quarter.
Gardner-Johnson returned to the game, and the Eagles controlled the Cowboys’ deep-passing opportunities for the rest of the game.
“Peppers signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal this past offseason worth just $1.725 million,” Kempski points out. “He would give the Eagles a quality backup safety who also has extensive experience as a returner (83 career punt returns, 34 career kick returns).”
Peppers’ versatility was something that likely stood out to the Patriots when they signed him, though his surgically repaired knee might have created some pause otherwise, hence the one-year deal.
“Peppers is the fourth safety on the Patriots’ depth chart behind Devin McCourty, Kyle Dugger, and Adrian Phillips,” Kempski continued. “The Pats also carry seven safeties total on their roster.”
A combination of steady play from McCourty, Dugger, and Phillips’ strong play and the depth at safety has made this a position of power for the Patriots. With rookie Marcus Jones seemingly settling in as the team’s return specialist, Peppers might be expendable on all fronts.
Jakobi Meyers Talks About Tyquan Thornton’s Success
One of the most promising new additions to the Patriots roster coming into this year is rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton. The speedster out of Baylor spent the first five weeks of the season on injured reserve with a broken collarbone.
In his first game active, Thornton made an immediate impact as he scored two touchdowns in the Patriots win over the Cleveland Browns.
Veteran receiver Jakobi Meyers was asked if he was surprised by Thornton’s play. Meyers told the media he wasn’t surprised, but he was still impressed.
With Nelson Agholor as the only Patriots player not present at practice on Thursday, it appears he could be out again for Monday night’s matchup with the Chicago Bears. If that’s the case, expect Thornton to get even more reps in his second game.
The N’Keal Harry Game
Monday night could be a revenge game for the Bears’ N’Keal Harry. The Patriots selected Harry in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but things didn’t work out, and the team traded him this offseason to Chicago for a 2024 seventh-round pick.
Harry suffered an injury during training camp that has kept him out all season. He is expected to be active for the first time on Monday night, and he will undoubtedly have a little extra pep in his step facing the team that traded him away.
The Patriots’ secondary will have to do everything possible to prevent Monday’s content from becoming the N’Keal Harry Revenge Game. Stay tuned.