The free agency defection of Danny Amendola, the trade of Brandin Cooks, the releases of Kenny Britt and Jordan Matthews, and potentially the advancing age of a now-32-year-old Julian Edelman leave the Patriots somewhat vulnerable at wide receiver. Might the NFL’s most trade-happy team consider one to bolster perhaps Tom Brady‘s final receiving corps? Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests (via NBC Sports Boston) one that would be quite the blockbuster, even if it could be a tad of a reach.
Describing “a weird sense coming out of Denver as it relates to Demaryius Thomas,” Florio posits a Thomas-to-the-Patriots trade. While prefacing this with the fact that said weird sense might not end up being meaningful regarding Thomas’ Broncos status, Florio points out Patriots OC Josh McDaniels drafted Thomas in 2010 and the Pats suddenly need receivers more than the Broncos appear to. That said, the 30-year-old wideout is one of the best players in Broncos history, and John Elway trading a key player to the Patriots may not be realistic. The Broncos have liked what they’ve seen from Courtland Sutton and fourth-rounder DaeSean Hamilton this preseason, and Denver cut the cord on Super Bowl starter T.J. Ward to save money after the 2017 preseason. But the Broncos picked up Thomas’ 2018 option — he’s attached to an $8.5MM base salary and $12MM cap number — and have struggled for years to develop receiving depth. Thomas is, however, due a non-guaranteed $14MM next season, the final year of his contract. So, he very well could be entering the last season of his Broncos tenure.
Here’s the latest out of New England:
- The Broncos don’t have a clear pipeline to the Patriots, but the Bob Quinn-run Lions do. And Mike Reiss of ESPN.com suggests a possible Golden Tate-to-New England transaction between Belichick and one of his former lieutenants. Reiss posits a deal involving contract-year defensive tackle Malcom Brown and linebacker Elandon Roberts but estimates the Lions probably wouldn’t part with Tate, even though he’s in a contract year and no substantial extension discussions have occurred. Tate, 30, is set to earn $7MM in base salary this season.
- While his twin brother’s been one of the NFL’s top safeties for a while, Jason McCourty‘s worked as a cornerback. However, the offseason trade acquisition began practicing at safety this week and lined up there in Friday night’s preseason game, Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston notes. Bill Belichick said (via NESN.com) McCourty’s safety reps were about gauging possibilities rather than a permanent move. McCourty also saw time at corner Friday night. New England houses Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung at safety and less experience at corner after Malcolm Butler‘s departure, but it appears Belichick will determine his newer McCourty’s versatility.
- Isaiah Wynn‘s injury creates a void for the Patriots at swing tackle for the time being, and 2018 UFA addition Matt Tobin saw time as Trent Brown‘s backup at left tackle. The former Eagles cog may find a way onto New England’s 53-man roster because of Wynn’s season-ending injury, per Perry. The Pats have LaAdrian Waddle as a swing tackle, but with Tobin having extensive guard experience, he might bring sufficient value as a bench option at multiple spots.