4:47pm: Pointing further to Uche’s days in New England being numbered, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reports the Patriots have had “advanced trade talks” regarding the sack artist with multiple teams in recent weeks. To no surprise, Uche’s injury troubles have hindered his market, but interest from suitors and a willingness to move on from New England certainly remains in place.
11:06am: As the trade deadline approaches, attention continues to be paid to non-contending teams and their willingness to move notable players. That includes the Patriots, a team which has a number of trade chips.
Of those, edge rusher Josh Uche is the likeliest to be traded, Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald reports. Uche is one of several 2020 draftees who have yet to sign an extension and as such could be had as rentals for the stretch run in 2023. An acquiring team would no doubt be interested in signing Uche to an extension as well, however.
The former second-rounder has not engaged in talks on a new deal with the Patriots, so it comes as no surprise that his name has emerged in trade rumors. Kyed notes that interested teams have called New England about all of their pending free agents – a group which also includes the likes of safety Kyle Dugger, offensive lineman Michael Onwenu and defensive back Jalen Mills. However, any more than one deal being finalized would be noteworthy, he adds.
Uche has shown flashes of being an impactful presence off the edge during his time in New England. That was especially true last season, when he logged 11.5 sacks despite playing only 38% of the team’s defensive snaps. The Michigan alum has not received an increase in playing time this year despite the absence of top edge rusher Matt Judon. Uche, who has missed the past two games due to injury, has a pair of sacks and six QB pressures in 2023.
Relatively undersized at the edge spot, the 6-3, 240-pounder has drawn poor PFF grades for his run defense and would be in line for a role as a situational rusher on a new team. As Kyed notes, the Patriots are set to have considerable spending power in free agency, meaning they may not be in line for a Day 2 or 3 compensatory pick in the event Uche were to depart on the open market and they made a notable addition to replace him.
New England – a team which has not only been open to fielding offers but has also actively spoken with clubs to gauge the market – would likely not be able to land a premium pick in return for Uche in the event they moved him. Of course, his value will depend in large part on the asking price attached to other edge rusher on the trade block, none of whom have been moved yet. For the time being, though, Uche’s name will be one to watch as the 2-6 Patriots sort out their plans ahead of the deadline.