The New England Patriots have completed their first significant trade of the NFL’s offseason. The team re-acquired 6’8″ 380-pound (per NFL.com) former Pro-Bowl offensive tackle, Trent Brown from the Las Vegas Raiders, along with a seventh-round pick in 2022 in exchange for a fifth-round selection.
The Boston Globe’s Jim McBride confirmed the deal that won’t be official until the start of the new league year on March 17 and Brown’s subsequent one-year deal with the Patriots for $11 million.
Brown took to social media to offer his reaction.
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This is the second time the Patriots have traded for Brown. After he was a seventh-round selection by the San Francisco 49ers out of Florida in 2015, the Albany, Georgia native spent the first three seasons of his career with the Niners. In 2018, the Patriots acquired Brown a fifth-round pick from San Francisco in exchange for a third-round selection.
That season, Brown started all 16 games at left tackle and helped the Patriots win Super Bowl LIII. How good was he that season? Pro Football Focus gives you a snapshot.
On the strength of his performance in 2018, Brown signed a four-year, $66 million contract with the Raiders. He missed five games in 2019, and 11 in 2020, a season that saw him spend time on the COVID-19 list and a pregame IV incident.
Judging by this box-jumping video on his Instagram account, it would appear the big man isn’t just healthy, but also in fantastic shape.
With the Patriots expected to lose Joe Thuney in free agency, which ESPN’s Adam Schefter all but confirms, the addition of Brown adds a stud to a unit that was mostly a strength this past season but has a chance to be even better in 2021 if the team re-signs center David Andrews.
Take a look at one very realistic projection for the starting O-Line in Foxborough from ESPN’s Mike Reiss:
There are some noteworthy names absent from this projection. Thuney, whom we’ve already established is likely moving on in free agency. However, there’s also Marcus Cannon, who opted out of the 2020 season, Justin Herron, Korey Cunningham, Jermaine Eluemunor, and Yodny Cajuste.
Cannon’s play was declining even before he opted out. While he and the other major opt-out players for the Patriots are expected to return in 2021, Cannon could be released. In fact, NFL Network’s Mike Giardi expects New England to cut ties with Cannon to recoup some of the $11 million it is paying Brown.
Herron was solid in 2020 as he was pressed into duty to cover up a number of injuries on the line. Still, he would likely be in a battle with Isaiah Wynn and oft-injured prospect Cajuste for an opportunity to start on the opposite side of the line from Brown. Eluemunor is a free agent, who might only be back to add depth, but is likely going to play elsewhere in 2021.
Who Will Brown Be Protecting?
The Patriots still have to answer the QB question; It would be interesting to see what Cam Newton looks like behind this O-Line, and with some solid receivers. That’s a novel idea, but one thing is for sure, whoever is under center has to feel a lot more secure behind the O-Line the Patriots are building. At this very early stage, it has a chance to be among the Top 5 in the NFL, but that’s of course before injuries and other unforeseen mishaps take a toll.
Even still, it’s hard to do anything but applaud this move as a first step toward returning the Patriots to a playoff team in 2021.
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