Patriots Named Trade Fit for Pro Bowl Josh Uche Replacement

Josh Uche

Getty The New England Patriots can replace free-agent OLB Josh Uche by trading for a Pro Bowl pass-rusher.

Fixing a sterile pass rush is one of the challenges facing New England Patriots’ head coach Jerod Mayo and defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington. It’ll get tougher if Josh Uche leaves during 2024 NFL free agency, but the Pats could replace the outside linebacker by trading for Pro Bowler Haason Reddick.

Reddick’s been made available for trade by the Philadelphia Eagles, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. As Rapoport’s colleague Mike Garafolo pointed out, “there was a thought he (Reddick) might make a stronger push for an extension last year after coming off 16 sacks in 2022 but he showed up for camp and played out Year 2 of a three-year deal. Now digging in for a big payday somewhere.”

Reddick has since denied asking for a trade. He posted on X on Tuesday, February 13 he “never asked for a trade. However, I do understand it’s a business. Preparing for whatever is next!”

If the Eagles and Reddick are set to part ways, any desire for a bumper payday or hefty trade haul shouldn’t deter the Patriots. Not when Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports noted “the Patriots have more projected cap space than all but two teams.”

Benjamin also believes New England’s “hybrid 3-4 defense could also be inviting for Reddick, whose arrival could offset the potential loss of free agent outside linebackers like Josh Uche.”

While Benjamin didn’t spell out what it will take to trade for Reddick, the Pats should explore any deal for a pass-rusher who’s logged 51 sacks in the last four seasons.

Haason Reddick a Perfect Fit for Patriots

As a roving pass-rusher who can attack as a standup outside linebacker or traditional defensive end, Reddick is perfect for the Patriots’ multiple-front schemes. Perfect and productive.

The 29-year-old posted an 11-sack campaign for the second time in three seasons. What sets Reddick apart is how he makes the most of his pass-rushing opportunities.

It’s what he did when he had a league-leading 71 pressures in 2022, per “Eagle Eye In The Sky Podcast” host Fran Duffy.

A higher rate of heat on the pocket is something the Patriots need. The defense generated just 135 pressures through 17 games, according to Pro Football Reference.

Consistent pressure wrecks plays at source. Like when Reddick forced an intentional grounding penalty from Washington Commanders’ quarterback Sam Howell, per Shane Haff of SB Nation’s Bleeding Green Nation.

The Patriots lacked this level of disruption once four-time Pro Bowler Matthew Judon landed on injured reserve. It shouldn’t be a problem to pair Reddick with Judon, once the latter has recovered from biceps surgery.

A healthy amount of cap space, estimated by to be $69,866,052, means the Pats can afford Reddick’s contract, set to account for £21,377,000 in 2024.

That pairing would surely make Uche surplus to requirements.

Josh Uche Disappointed in 2023

Uche’s sacks numbers dropped from 11.5 to three, while the pressure stats plummeted from 25 to 15, per Pro Football Reference. Reduced playing time wasn’t much of a factor, even though Uche played 331 snaps, compared with 374 in 2022.

Making the most of a situational role is something Reddick has managed with greater consistency than Uche. The latter was still winning his pass-rush matchups early in this campaign, according to PFF NE Patriots.

Yet, this production soon fell off, with Uche notching a mere three pressures across seven games from Week 5 onwards. Uche’s struggles left the Patriots having to manufacture pressure with more blitz calls.

Adding a proven and prolific edge-rusher like Reddick would allow Mayo and Covington to reduce the blitzing and rely on a front also headlined by Judon and Christian Barmore to collapse the pocket.

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