Bill Belichick, Patriots opt to stand pat at the NFL trade deadline

Patriots

The Patriots didn’t move potential trade chips like Josh Uche on Tuesday.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches players warm up before the start of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Monday, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots didn’t make any moves on Tuesday. . (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Bill Belichick and the Patriots aren’t putting a “For Sale” sign in front of Gillette Stadium this fall.

Despite sitting at the bottom of the AFC with a 2-6 record, the Patriots opted to stand pat ahead of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. NFL Trade Deadline — choosing to hold onto an assortment of assets that could have accelerated what is looking like a lengthy rebuild in Foxborough.

Even if New England chose to not significantly overhaul its roster with a seismic deal such as trading Mac Jones, New England did have several pending free agents who could have secured some additional draft capital ahead of what should be an eventful offseason. 

Younger players in line for heftier paydays in Josh Uche, Kyle Dugger, and Mike Onwenu stood as viable trade chips, especially if New England was hesitant over being the team responsible for doling out those larger contracts.

But even other veterans who may not be part of New England’s long-term plans like Ezekiel Elliott, Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki or even Jalen Mills could have been shipped off for a few draft picks.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Patriots “listened” on deals involving those younger players like Uche, Dugger, and Onwenu — while New England did not get “any calls” over Jones or Elliott. 

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport added that it “doesn’t sound like anything got close” on potential deals involving the Patriots. 

Ultimately, the lack of a suitable return might have been the primary sticking point for the Patriots on several potential trade scenarios, especially those involving their group of younger players.

Considering that former second-overall pick Chase Young only went for a third-round pick in his swap from Washington to San Francisco on Tuesday, it seems unlikely that a gifted pass-rusher in Uche would have landed a similar return. 

Even if New England wasn’t thrilled with the potential returns on trade packages involving players like Uche and Dugger, the onus now falls on the Patriots to re-sign at least a few of these players — or else risk losing them in free agency in March. 

As noted by NESN.com’s Zack Cox, the Patriots haven’t signed a player they drafted in the first three rounds to a second contract since Duron Harmon (Third Round, 2013). 

Considering the Patriots are already trudging through what is shaping to be a lost season, failing to re-sign any of these building blocks for the future (after not getting at least something in return at the deadline) would be a tough look in the coming months.

The Patriots will look to right the ship on Sunday when they host the Washington Commanders in Week 9.


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