As the NFL regular season comes to a close, it’s time for the non-playoff teams to plot their next moves.
For the first time since 2008, the New England Patriots are one of those teams, and yet again, they must have their eyes set on improving at wide receiver and tight end.
The Patriots might have found a diamond in the rough in Jakobi Meyers, and Damiere Byrd has shown some flashes, but the receiving corps needs a talent injection.
In light of that, B/R Gridiron posted a potential trade package designed to land a future Hall of Famer. If Bleacher Report is on to something, New England could land a player who’d become the team’s best receiver since Randy Moss was setting records in Patriots colors 13 years ago.
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Julio Jones to the Patriots?
If you’re constructing a trade, you might as well leap high while remaining practical. B/R Gridiron sought to find future Hall of Famer and Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones a new home, and the Patriots are one of the teams projected to have a package to offer the rebuilding Dirty Birds.
Take a look:
Is Jones worth giving up a 2021 first-round and sixth-round pick, plus a third-round selection in 2022? If we’re answering based on who he is as a person, his body of work and name recognition, the simple answer would be yes. However, the Patriots need to be obtaining a true game-changer if they are parting with three draft assets.
Quite honestly, durability has become a concern for the first time in Jones’ career. The 31-year-old missed five games in 2019 after missing only four in the previous six seasons combined. Barring a miraculous performance in the final week of the season, Jones will fall short of 1,000 yards receiving for the first time since 2013 when he missed 11 games.
Jones has averaged 85.7 receiving yards this season, so if he was healthy, he would have undoubtedly reached the mark again this year. Moving forward, health has to be a part of any conversation. Jones has perhaps four years remaining at a reasonably high level (best-case scenario). The Patriots would have to gamble on him remaining healthy at least through the next two seasons.
After the team traded a second-round pick to acquire Mohamed Sanu from the Falcons last year, and that didn’t pan out, they may be less eager to make another trade for a receiver. Jones’ contract is also scheduled to carry a $23 million cap hit in 2021, but it will de-escalate until its expiration after the 2023 season, or possibly sooner due to a team option available after the 2022 campaign.
There are some other options the Patriots could consider. The Chicago Bears’ Allen Robinson has proven to be an elite-level receiver, but he hasn’t ever played alongside a top-notch quarterback. At the moment, it wouldn’t appear as though the Patriots have that on their roster. However, that may not prevent them from approaching him with a serious contract.
There’s also the Carolina Panthers’ Curtis Samuel or even the Tennessee Titans’ Corey Davis who might also be available. Neither of those guys figures to command a $20-million-per-year deal, and because they’re free agents, the Patriots wouldn’t have to deal draft assets.
Acquiring Jones would be a huge deal for several reasons, but a smaller move might actually be best.
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