2014 NFL Trade Deadline: Are the Patriots looking for a dance partner?

NFL: Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick may be looking to the trade deadline for reinforcements (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

Twenty-four more days are available for NFL teams to trade players. The Patriots’ front office has around $14M available in cap space, and as of Monday night New England fans have about zero patience available for this team.

Frustration, disbelief and confusion are the best ways to describe what fans are feeling right now. There are so many places to point the finger, but placing blame won’t solve this organization’s issues any faster. What this team needs is a shake up, and Monday night’s debacle in Kansas City was just that.

Now it’s up to the Patriots to pick themselves up, get back on the horse, and circle the wagons. They have enough talent, at least on the defensive side of the ball, to clinch their division. But talent alone doesn’t always translate to wins, it also takes effort and patience. Two things players and coaches have lacked through four games.

In order to right the ship a lot of internal transformation has to take place in that locker room. However, infusing a new element onto a roster can sometimes provide the necessary spark desired to pivot a franchise 180°. Deals at the trade deadline don’t happen often in professional football, and they’re usually never significant moves when they do.

Bill Belichick trading for Aqib Talib a couple years ago is the exception to that rule. Talib gave a lack luster Patriots’ defense the jolt needed to spur a turn around that season. Question is – is there another player available this year who could do the same?

The desert and Motor City may offer solutions…

Larry Fitzgerald: If you’re involved with Boston sports media, and have a Twitter account, the odds are in favor you’ve been inundated the last few years with tweets regarding Mr. Fitzgerald. At 31, he still houses a pair of glutes that would make even Jen Selter a bit Jealous. And from a pure football perspective, trading for him makes a ton of sense for New England. He’s a savvy veteran receiver who has a complete game, and should be able to ingest a large, complicated play book fairly quickly. Acquiring Fitzgerald would appease Tom Brady, while also quieting the mob storming castle Gillette with pitchforks.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald could offer the Patriots the big play threat they’re looking for. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Chance of Happening (%35): I’ll be honest, the only reason I place that percentage even at %35 has to do with his contract situation and emergence of Michael Floyd. Fitzgerald’s cap hit of $23M next year will need to be restructured before the 2015 season. Problem is, how much does Arizona think he’s worth? I don’t think they want to tie up an exorbitant amount of money at that position. Then again, I said the same thing about Brandon Marshall, and the Bears went ahead and extended him before they were allowed to throw money at Alshon Jeffery.

Fitzgerald has not been a key contributor to Arizona’s offense thus far this season, and with Floyd taking over the number one receiver role does that make Larry expendable? Considering Drew Stanton is throwing passes for them right now, it’s all hands on deck for the Cardinals. This trade probably won’t happen, but the Patriots cap space and desperation at wide receiver makes it worth monitoring.

(UPDATE) With Kenbrell Thompkins’ release today, I’ll bump the chance of this happening to 43%. Thompkins’ release likely means Brian Tyms will have a spot on the roster going forward, but nevertheless it potentially opens the door further to a Fitzgerald trade.

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is a physical force up front that would be welcomed in New England’s defense (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

Ndamukong Suh: The Patriots are desperate for defensive line help, and it’s not often a DT of Suh’s caliber becomes available. His relationship with Detroit is deteriorating and will most likely bolt town this spring via free agency. Suh has the ability to get pressure inside or out, and wreak havoc in the back field. When it’s turned on, his motor is second to none. There are shades of Warren Sapp within Suh’s game, who encompasses an uncanny amount of athleticism for a man that size. He is however one of the most undisciplined players in the league. Yellow laundry is constantly being draped on the turf due to his reckless tendencies. But the pros definitely out weigh the cons.

His attitude is a double edged sword. On one hand, it’s what makes him a liability by giving up costly penalty yardage, but on the other hand it’s what gives him the presence and nastiness defensive coordinators look for in the trenches .

Chance of Happening (10%): Here’s why Suh probably won’t end up in Foxborough – he likes football, but LOVES money. Now is he Albert Haynesworth? No. Big Al LOVED money, and LOVED donuts. I think Suh cares about the game and wants to be recognized as the best. That also means he wants to be paid like the best. It may take a contract making him the richest defensive lineman not named JJ Watt in order to please him. The Patriots just aren’t going to do that. They could possibly absorb the remainder of his contract this year if they massaged the numbers, but that could be difficult. And signing Suh or extending him past 2014 would be expensive.

Here’s the thing gang, this team is not playing well right now. The root of the problem is a lot deeper than this season, and can be attributed to a disconnect that exists between Belichick the GM and Belichick the coach. A lot of questionable decisions have drove them to this point.

Now Is there a move in the works to fortify either line, or give Brady some help outside the numbers? And Will they be able to circle the wagons like they have in the past?  I’m not sure, but I do know the latter would be a lot easier with a cowboy from Fresno leading the charge.

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26 Responses to “2014 NFL Trade Deadline: Are the Patriots looking for a dance partner?”

  1. jesse says:

    Lol what are you guys talking about? 5-2. Brady has 17 touchdowns with, 2 int(came in same game) and revis is shutting people down. Hasn’t given up a td in 4-5 games

  2. Paul Lanehart says:

    Maineman you must be a football nerd who has no idea what athletic ability looks like. First off Edelman and Amendorka are nowhere near 5’11!! Nor do I trust their workout #’s since neither were invited to the combine. Sub par athletes from small schools that get combine invites routinely put up bigger #’s at their school compared to combine stats which are computer timed and unbiased. There is Noway in hell Edelman or Amendola are 5’11 or close. Look how 6’2 Lafell towers over top of them. That is far more than 3 inches difference in height. I’m 5’11 and some of my 6’2 friends aren’t that much taller. Yet 6’2 1/2. Lafell tower over Edelman. Edelman is shifty but he gathers for cuts. When do youever see Edelman play tall and sky for passes while running full speed and contort his body and hit ground running full speed like Antonio Brown does or Emmanuel Sanders, t.y. Hilton,Marquise Lee or Keenan Allen. Even when Edelman makes a deep catch its dropped in the bucket and he doesn’t leave his feet. Edelman may average 14 ypc for a game or 2 but by seasons end his YPC will be under 11.

    Edelman is nowhere near in the same league as the WRs you mentioned. That is pure lying to yourself if you think Edelman is as good as Allen, Hilton, Marshall,Maclin,Brown, Sanders,Steve Smith. After 100 catches Edelman had zero interest on the open market because teams knew he was limited and was productive due to Brady and a good rapport with Brady. Not due to his skills. They watched his tape and his movement skills and had no interest. You are Madman if your a big enough homer to talk yourself into thinking Edelman is in the same league as those other WRs. Greg Jennings, Cobb or Tate maybe but Jackson, Hilton or Marshall is nuts to think. You are being biased towards a home team player. If Edelman and Amendola are that good and dynamic then the offense won’t stall yet again in the playoffs and we are winning the Superbowl right. We have an elite QB a great coach a great defense with big free agent signings like revis browner and Lafell and over 30 draft picks invested in defense over last 6 or so drafts. So now with elite dynamic explosive WRs there should be another Superbowl right Maineman

  3. Paul Lanehart says:

    Nobody would want Amendola. And why would you resign Revis to an extension. He already isn’t what he was when playing for the jets. He is turning 30 and not the same since his acl injury. Even if he does get over the injury shutdown corners aren’t dominant in their 30’s like in their mid 20’s. Revis has been scorched ever since preseason when Maclin roasted him in practice. Everybody said its just practice but now rookie QBs are beating him. He didn’t shut Green down. He had still an OK game and had Revis beaten several other times but Andy Dalton was off. Patriots need another impact Defensive lineman and a real WR. Edelman is a slot security blanket and should not be more than a #3!! Watch highlights and how other QBs have WRs making plays for them. Brady has to be perfect because his guys aren’t making athletic plays for him down field. Brady is a fine deep thrower he just doesn’t have any WRs that can outrun defensive backs or take the ball from defenders. Most cornerbacks have speed and can jump. Brady must be careful throwing deep because cornerbacks are likely to take the ball from our shorter slower WR’s. Brady needs a real WR and a standout that can anchor the offensive line.

    • MaineMan says:

      I attended that practice in person. Maclin didn’t “roast” Revis. Like everybody else on the defense, he wasn’t finishing plays – by design. Pats defenders took each play as far as needed to get their reads, positioning and timing down, then got back to the LoS quickly to get another play going.

      So, yeah, it WAS a “practice thing.” The fact that sportswriters cast it in a different light means either (a) they had an agenda, or (b) they’re not as smart as you seem to think they are.

  4. Paul Lanehart says:

    Who would trade for Amendola especially at his salary?? We would have to give them draft picks to take him. Amendola is short slow and pathetic. He is a below average talent. Only reason why the limited Edelman is productive is his great work ethic and rapport with Brady. Amendola is Edelman without the outstanding work ethic. Patriots could use a real WR. The slot is always a #3 option and a dump off security blanket that averages 10 ypc. Belichick insists on making these little slow runts the Top wide outs and Brady is clearly getting agrivated. They won’t win a Superbowl with that bunch of weapons and offensive line. Sure they looked good against an overrated Bengals team missing its 2 best defenders. Burfict and Atkins who is on limited snaps and not the same yet after an ACL injury. Gronks injuries are catching up to him as well. He had a good game but he lumbers out there.

    And what’s with the resigning Revis to an extension talk. He is near 30 and not the same since his injury. Even if he is over his

    • MaineMan says:

      Yikes! Where to begin?

      Okay, first of all, neither Amendola or Edelman are particularly “short” – both are just under 5’11” and 200 lbs. That’s the same size as Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, Golden Tate, DeSean Jackson, Randall Cobb – about an inch shorter than Maclin, Reggie Wayne, Victor Cruz – and couple inches taller than Steve Smith, T.Y. Hilton, and Welker. All of these guys (excepting Welker) are among the top 20 WR so far this season – as is Edelman.

      Edelman isn’t “slow” – his 4.52/40 is actually on a par with a lot of successful deep threat types (Brandon Marshall ran a 4.54, e.g.). Also, Edelman has one of the top shuttle times (3.92) and 3-cone times (6.62) in the league. “Limited”? Seriously, have you never seen his jump-cuts?!

      In the first two games this season, Edelman’s YPC was 15.8 and 13.5. With Gronk getting healthier and LaFell/Wright starting to come on, Edelman’s YPC has been lower the past three games as those guys have taken over some of the deeper routes that Edelman ~can~ run. But Edelman’s average since the beginning of 2013 has been just a bit under 11 YPC. For reference, Andre Johnson is at 11.9, Dez Bryant and Sammy Watkins are at 11.8, Keenan Allen is at 10.8 and Pierre Garcon is at 10.7. Meanwhile, through the first three games this season (until KC and Cincy apparently figured out that they needed to cover him), Edelman was catching 80% of what was thrown his way and he has a career average over 70%. Bryant is close (THIS year) at 68%, but Watkins, Allen and Garcon are all under 65%.

      Brady’s deep ball accuracy has never been much above league average. He’s had pass-catchers who have made him LOOK much better – Moss, Branch and even Gronk (to some degree when he’s fully healthy) – because of their ability to adjust to throws that are a bit off. Where Brady has been exceptional as a passer – way ahead of almost every other QB ever – is with his quick, accurate reads of the defense, his lightning fast release, and his accuracy on throws of 15 yards or less, especially inside the numbers. This is precisely the area in which Edelman excels – as did Welker before him and Troy Brown before that – all of them presenting optimal targets for what Brady is best at whether working out of the slot or out of the “Z” and “X” spots (which they’ve all done).

      So, no. Edelman is neither short nor slow and his usage isn’t some arbitrary “imposition” on Brady by BB. For Brady, such guys are far from being merely #3 “dump-off guys” – they’re his game.

      BTW – I’ve personally seen Amendola in practice and drills. Anybody questioning his talent or work ethic has no frickin’ clue what they’re talking about. And, Amendola isn’t simply used as a “slot guy” in the Welker mold (in spite of the persistent myth that he was hired to be a 1-to-1 Welker replacement, which always was pure BS). Amendola starts out of the “Z” as much as (or more than) he does out of the slot and he runs a significant percentage of his routes between the numbers and the sideline – tougher, lower percentage throws (for any QB) that require more pocket security and, thus, get fewer targets. Amendola’s YPC last season was just under 12.0 with a catch rate just over 65% while running similar patterns, and I expect that he’ll catch up to that once pass-pro becomes more consistently (ahem) confidence-inspiring. Also, Amendola’s cap hit (IF he stays healthy AND hits all his incentives) is only a bit more than Sanders’ and considerably less than Welker’s.

  5. acm says:

    There are very few pointless threads/posts on this site. I am sorry to say this is one of those few … I mean, seriously, wtf.

  6. steve earle says:

    Ken, you have those odds, maybe just a little high imo, but could happen. Thing is it appears to me the major problem is still the o-line and without a fix there we could be an 8&8 team this year. About the D, I have seldom seen worse tackling in a game as we saw at KC. Coverage was loose and Jones@ DE, has to learn to set the edge 1st. He killed us Mon night. Young and will learn but geeze !

  7. matty says:

    Worst player who’s getting lots of time is Patrick Chung – he is small, slow, and just a bad player. Release him, his career is over.

  8. matty says:

    Amendola could only be traded for someone else’s bad contract; right now he’s just insurance if edelman gets injured. And Patrick Chung has been just terrible, as expected; time to let him go.

  9. Russell says:

    I think o% either of those trades happen, the Patriots are trying to get younger. Patriots want to resign Revis, so that will cost. Bill may trade a player to get more draft picks, Amendola, or Arrington, would be my guess.

    • matty says:

      I like Arrington; he’s playing well. Unless you can get a decent safety or linebacker for him, we should keep him.

    • steve earle says:

      0% sounds right to me too. Been wrong before though! Only thing draft picks won’t help this year. Subject of the page.

      • rdf63 says:

        Admire the positive thinking but 0% for both. The Pats are recognizing fhat getting a WR like Fitzgerald aint gonna help if your QB cant find the time to throw. Suh would take most of the cap money and wants a mega deal. Suh would create major financial problems this year and 2015.

  10. Jack T says:

    Rex Ryan will be available after tomorrow’s game.

    All kidding aside, as farfetched as it may seem, Tyms and Jimmy G could ignite a spark. Tom needs a wake up call and Bill could use a nudge himself, a little of his own medicine if you will. He’s bringing the whole team down if those pressers are any indication. Talk about depressing. Cincy can be had. Dalton’s playing like crap. Isn’t there somebody, anybody having a good time? They’re tied for first place, fer Pete Carroll’s sake.

    • MaineMan says:

      “Tom needs a wake up call and Bill could use a nudge himself…”

      Like those people in slasher films who just HAVE to take a barely-working flashlight to go investigate that funny noise in the basement just seconds after the lights go out?

      Not.

      I can’t imagine anyone on earth who’s more painfully aware than Brady and Belichick of how their own mistakes have contributed to the debacle that the season has been so far. I’m equally sure that no one more thoroughly understands that the Chiefs played the last ten minutes of their blowout win more like it was Pre-season Week-4 than regular-season Week-4 than JimmyG.

      Belichick isn’t bringing anybody on the team “down” with his curt press briefings, he’s SHIELDING them. And they know that.

      • Jack says:

        Btw, have you seen the commercial that says “People in horror films make bad decisions.” And it shows a group of teenagers with one of them saying something like, “Let’s get out of here – let’s jump into that car and bolt!” and it cuts to a shot of the car, ready and waiting, lights on, motor running and everything. Then, another one says, “No, I have a better idea – let’s hide in that old garage behind all those chainsaws hanging from the wall!” And the next shot if of them all crouching underneath the chainsaws, and then you see the Jason-like character looking at them, with a kind of a puzzled look on his face, like, why would they possibly be doing something like that? So funny!

        I remember a movie from way back, called “Burn Offerings”. So, the family was in this creepy house with a mysterious aunt who you never see living up in the attic, call her “Mrs Black”. And, bad things were happening to them – the grandmother mysteriously died of a broken back, the father went nuts and attacked his kid in the pool before coming to his senses – all the standard kind of stuff that goes on in this kind of movie. They finally decided to flee, and the family was all packed and in the car, ready to go. But then, the wife says “I have to go say goodbye to Mrs. Black!”. Groan! My friend, who is wiseass to the core, yelled out “Just send her a frickin’ letter!” It was the best line – the whole theatre, which was packed, laughed for a good five minutes off that line.

        • MaineMan says:

          One of my favorite commercials, in fact. Best part is when the kids hide behind the chainsaws, they cut to a shot of the chainsaw guy behind them, rolling his eyes and shaking his head, as if to say, “How could ANYBODY be so st00pid!”

      • Jack T says:

        “I can’t imagine anyone on earth who’s more painfully aware than Brady and Belichick of how their own mistakes have contributed to the debacle that the season has been so far.”

        And I can’t imagine anyone who’s been less aware of their roles in this debacle. I predicted the Patriots’ demise after this year’s draft and was derided for it. These guys are what they are. Brady’s interview on WEEI Monday made it crystal clear he doesn’t see himself as part of the problem. He keeps trying to make lemonade out of lemons before the snap and he’s only causing more confusion and disruption post-snap. It sends a message to the players he’s the only one who knows what’s best for them.

        The offense lacks rhythm and timing. Let the players see what they’re dealing with themselves and adjust. It’s what they’ve been trained to do. Trust the players to do their jobs. It’s fine to change a play on the fly, but every play?

    • Jack says:

      I think there are two fundamental problems. One is Bill the GM. While he’s made some great picks over the years, he’s made some bad ones, too. Certainly the Tavon Wilson pick comes to mind. I just think they’re better off with at least someone to stand up to him and say – “Sorry, Bill, you are not going to make that pick.” That’s what they’re lacking right now. I think Scott Pioli used to have that power, right? They wouldn’t draft a guy unless they both agreed. He’s available, why not just bring him back into that role? Bobby Grier was in there before Pioli, and he had some great drafts. Get him out of Houston. What I don’t get is why Bill the GM turned away from his best player available strategy. Ozzie Newsome, who may be the best GM in the league, has cited Belichick’s advice to take the best player available as the reason he drafted Ray Lewis.

      Bill the GM has led to problems like
      1) Getting rid of Wes Walker in favor of Danny Amendola. Does anyone still agree with that move? Did anyone even agree at the time, even? Well, yes, maybe but they were few and far between.
      2) Cutting Tommy Kelley in favor of – get this – Joe Vellano. Or Chris Jones. In a “win-now” year, yet. Does BB really think that the potential of these guys will ever be anything more than Jag-like? I question that very deeply. I find it disturbing that he makes that judgement.
      3) Not signing John Abraham as a free agent in 2013, for example. Abraham had 11.5 sacks in 2013. They could’ve used him against Denver in the AFC Championship game, when Manning had all day to throw. He was out there all off-season, and the fans were continually calling for him to be signed. He wasn’t very expensive, he signed for $4.6 million with the Arizona Cardinals. The only guaranteed portion of the contract is a $1 million dollar signing bonus that is prorated for two years for salary cap purposes. He’s out of the league now with a concussion, but still.
      4) Tavon Wilson. Duane Harmon. Both of these guys could’ve been had in far later rounds.
      5) Not understanding how bad their OL was going into the season. Did they really think Johan Devey/Joe Kline/Canon were the answer? We clearly witnessed in pre-season that this wasn’t the case. Yet they continued to push these guys out onto the field, finally benching one after the other.

      Problem number 2: The Pats offense is too complicated for receivers to pick up easily. This leads to Brady limiting his targets to a select few. It has to be one of the reasons why the Patriots are so bad at bringing in new receivers.

      • steve earle says:

        It all sound simple, someone saying “no” to GM Bill but thing is it’s in his contract that he makes all, ALL the decisions. No way around that excepth to fire coach Bill.

  11. MaineMan says:

    First of all, the Pats really only have about $9M in cap space after subtracting the incentive bonuses they’re likely to be liable for by the end of the season.

    Arizona would incur a $22M dead money cap hit for 2014 by trading Fitz – and they only have $6M in cap space. So, 0% chance.

    The Lions would save about $3M for 2014 and another $7M for 2015 by moving Suh this season, but the Pats would be on the hook for the remaining $9M+ of his 2014 base salary. They ~might~ be able to squeeze that in, but just barely, and they’d could only realistically do it if they had a signed agreement in hand to a contract extension that would reduce his 2014 hit to +/- $4M. At that point, though, they almost certainly won’t have enough ca space in 2015 to retain either Revis or McCourty. And that’s assuming they’d want to part with the core of their front seven when their defense is showing signs of being very good this year. The Fords are stupid, but not THAT stupid.

  12. Joe E O says:

    How about predicting the chances of Brady being traded. I have to assume after being defeated in the AFC championship, the Patriots came to the conclusion that the team was several years away for a championship and have decided to start rebuilding the team. I expect that they will try to trade Brady soon as the Patriots offense and defense if not going to improve in the short term……

    Joe E O

  13. Trevor says:

    I enjoyed the article. Confused at the % but I guess it just gives fans an idea of how likely these trades are.

    I would have enjoyed another 2 or 3 trade possibilities.

    The Suh one caught me off guard and I like it. Interesting since most fans focus on either Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson.

  14. Joe Blake says:

    Dream on my friend!

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