Patriots Pushed to Pursue Blockbuster Trade for Pro-Bowl TE

Getty Zach Ertz

The New England Patriots badly need some help in the passing game, but what are they willing to part with to get it?

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Trade Joe Thuney For Zach Ertz?

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This is a BOLD one, but CBS Sports' Cody Benjamin suggested the Patriots trade Joe Thuney to the Eagles for Zach Ertz, straight up. Here's his explanation: "A rare player-for-player swap, and boy, is it a juicy one! Here's the deal: The Eagles and Patriots love to trade with each other. The Eagles have all the reason in the world to thank Ertz for his years of great work and then bid him farewell, what with Dallas Goedert in town and Ertz both a.) off to an uncharacteristically ugly start in 2020 and b.) seeking a big-money extension. The Patriots, meanwhile, could desperately use that Rob Gronkowski replacement they've failed to unearth, and have already passed the deadline to get a long-term deal done with Thuney, who's on the franchise tag and has reportedly been dangled before. Ertz's recent ankle injury complicates this, but assuming he's good to go in three or four weeks, that's right around when the Pats would need him for their final AFC East push. Thuney, meanwhile, is a plug-and-play upgrade at pretty much any interior spot on the O-line, where the Eagles have been totally ravaged by injuries but must keep Carson Wentz upright. Philly would then have multiple options after the season: Extend Thuney, who's only 27, as a long-term guard or even Jason Kelce successor; or let him walk, free up major 2021 cap space and collect the inevitable compensatory pick." #Patriots #NewEnglandPatriots #CamNewton #StephonGilmore #DevinMcCourty #JasonMcCourty #JoshMcDaniels #JCJackson #LawrenceGuy #ChaseWinovich #JoshUche #KyleDugger #JoeThuney #JamesWhite #DamienHarris #JarrettStidham #AdamButler #JJTaylor #DevinAsiasi #DaltonKeene #JulianEdelman #NKealHarry #GunnerOlszewski #DavidAndrews #BillBelichick #RobertKraft #AFCEast #AFC #NFL

A post shared by Pats Nation 365 (@pats_nation_365) on Oct 20, 2020 at 12:20pm PDT

CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin recognizes the Patriots’ desperate need to add weapons in the passing game, and the Philadelphia Eagles’ issues with their offensive line. Based on that alone, his suggestion to move Joe Thuney to the Eagles in exchange for tight end Zach Ertz makes sense.

Ertz is currently out 3-4 weeks with an ankle injury, so any trade would likely have to wait. Quite honestly, it’s unclear if the Patriots can wait that long for help in the passing game.

The Eagles’ struggles have been even worse as their quarterback Carson Wentz has been under duress most of the season. Philly is 1-4-1 in the woeful NFC East and searching for some answers.

Thuney’s versatility and excellence would seemingly make him an asset on any team, and the Eagles in particular because he plugs a specific gap.

Is Giving Up Thuney Too Much?

There’s no question, the Eagles can afford to part ways with Ertz. As good as the 29-year-old has been in his career (3 Pro Bowls), the young Dallas Goedert is seemingly ready to handle a bigger role. In fact, the next three or four weeks could convince anyone who isn’t already sure Goedert has made Ertz expendable.

The story is perhaps a little different on the Patriots’ side. The offensive line looked good before the Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncos, but a lack of practice time due to COVID-19 issues and tons of injuries led to the unit’s worst performance of the year. Once the Pats O-Line can get back on the practice field and center David Andrews returns (which could be Sunday vs. the San Francisco 49ers), they could be back in a good place.

Even with that, losing arguably your best and most versatile offensive lineman could be tough for the Patriots to overcome. Thuney has been stellar this season at guard and center and the Patriots would be leaning heavily on super rookie steal Michael Onwenu, and other mostly unproven players to step up.

Thuney is playing on the franchise tag and it’s unlikely the Patriots re-sign him going into next season. Perhaps rather than allowing him to walk for free at the end of the year, the Patriots could procure a valuable player from the Eagles to soften the blow of his exit.

This is just speculation, but food for thought as we approach the NFL trade deadline on November 3.

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