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Patriots: With the NFL Trade Deadline looming, how can Belichick improve his team?Ray Rauth

There is a common theme that keeps coming up when you look at this Patriots team, and it actually goes all the way back to 2018. The Patriots are lacking weapons on offense.

Patriots: With the NFL Trade Deadline looming, how can Belichick improve his team?

The New England Patriots lost in embarrassing fashion to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, but I am not going to be an overreactive member of the media and start screaming about doom and gloom. The circumstances surrounding Sunday’s game should be enough that the poor performance will not be a common theme for this football team. The Patriots were set up to fail from the start, and if a team ever needed to just move on, it’s the New England Patriots.

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But there is a common theme that keeps coming up when you look at this Patriots team, and it actually goes all the way back to 2018. The Patriots are lacking weapons on offense, and it may have finally caught up with Bill Belichick.

Julian Edelman looks like a shell of his former self, whether it’s age or injuries, that’s really irrelevant right now. Edelman completed as many passes as he caught on Sunday (2), and when that is a team’s WR1, it’s a direct indication of why Cam Newton has almost as many rushing yards as he does passing yards.

Outside of Julian Edelman, the Patriots have not seen their former number one pick N’Keal Harry take the necessary steps he needs to take. Damiere Byrd has been okay, but he’s probably better suited as a team’s WR4 rather than the WR3 position that he’s in right now. The tight end play could actually be worse than it was in 2019. Ryan Izzo has a handful of catches and a fumble. At best Izzo is a TE3, and yet he is actively playing as New England’s TE1. Devin Asiasi gets on the field, but he has only been targeted once this season. Dalton Keene, who was seen as a legitimate offensive weapon that could play all over the field, hasn’t even dressed for a single game this season.

With the NFL Trade Deadline coming in a couple of weeks, it’s about that time that Patriots fans and media personnel start throwing out every unrealistic name who is not available. So far this season, we have heard Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr, Allen Robinson, AJ Green, and Le’Veon Bell, all connected to a possible Patriots trade. Bell signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, and none of the above mentioned receivers have been made available by their respective teams.

That being said, it’s not hard to see that Belichick needs to do something. The Patriots are in a very precarious situation right now. The Patriots are caught right in the middle between being a team that could compete for a Super Bowl, and a team that needs to retool and get younger. Because Belichick has put the Patriots in a situation that they don’t need to go into a full out rebuild, making trades and giving Newton weapons to throw to, makes things very difficult. Let’s not forget that New England gave up a second round pick last year to the Atlanta Falcons for Mohamed Sanu and the trade didn’t work. Sanu didn’t spark the offense the way many had hoped, and when examining the trade now, it was all risk with no reward. Belichick knows that he can’t make that same mistake this season. The Patriots will have a lot of cap space for the 2021 season, so Belichick will have the flexibility to keep guys like Joe Thuney and Cam Newton, while also bringing in some valuable free agents into the mix. But the Patriots also need to draft, and giving up a premium pick this season while you’re stuck in no man’s land, really doesn’t make any sense.  

So that leaves the question, how does Bill Belichick improve the Patriots offense, while not jeopardizing the future?

A name that has popped up for the first time since July, is the Cleveland Browns David Njoku. He had asked for a trade during the offseason, but then publicly retracted his wish to be traded. But according to Cleveland.com he still wants to be traded before the deadline. We don’t know if there is any truth to this, but if there is, Belichick needs to seriously consider pulling the trigger and giving up a premium pick for Njoku, because if the Patriots play it right, they could get their tight end now and the future in one trade.

Njoku would not come to New England and look like Rob Gronkowski, in fact his stats say that he has not been overly productive with Cleveland, and that is a concern. This situation seems like a Mohamed Sanu situation where this could blow up in the Patriots face, and Njoku becomes another name on the unproductive tight end carousel. But, this seems like an educated risk that Belichick should take. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. The risk is huge, but the reward could be even better, and looking at this Patriots current roster and makeup, Njoku is young enough and talented enough that it would make sense for Belichick to make this kind of move.

The other name that seems like a realistic target for the Patriots is the Indianapolis Colts Jack Doyle. The Colts have a plethora of young talented tight ends, and trading Doyle to the Patriots could be a nice cashout for Indi. Doyle would probably bring more guaranteed success than Njoku, but he’s pretty much shown everything he has, whereas Njoku could get even better. But Doyle who is a fan favorite in Indianapolis, and his lunch pale, blue collar work ethic would probably make him an instant favorite amongst Patriots fans and in the New England locker room.

Regardless, if the Patriots want to be taken seriously, and want to be seen as serious contenders this season, either Josh McDaniels needs to vastly improve the current tight end squad, or Belichick needs to add a new name. The Patriots could probably do well if Belichick could bring in a wide receiver and a tight end, but we should live under the assumption that Belichick will only make one move, and tight end seems more important than receiver right now. If the Patriots can get the tight ends involved in the pass game, that will force teams to lay off of the man to man coverage we’ve seen played against the Patriots, and it should open up more options for Newton.

Now is the waiting game, and even though it sounds really promising and really exciting, this is Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots we’re talking about, so don’t get your hopes too high, because it’s just as likely Belichick does nothing, and rolls with the team he already has.

here is a common theme that keeps coming up when you look at this Patriots team, and it actually goes all the way back to 2018. The Patriots are lacking weapons on offense,

Last modified: October 20, 2020
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