Patriots Trade Deadline Targets

With the NFL trade deadline approaching, here’s a quick look at who I think the Patriots should target before 4:00 tomorrow:

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

Even though all of the trade talk this week is centered around the Broncos other wideout, Demaryius Thomas, Sanders makes more sense to me for a variety of reasons. For one, he’s given the Pats some serious fits during the playoffs in recent years, and at 31, he can still take the top off a defense if he needs to. For those of you who might not remember, the Patriots actually signed him when he was a restricted free agent in 2013, but were ultimately matched by the Steelers. He went on to sign with Denver the following year. To make it simple, we know that there’s interest in the player from our end.

On the season, Sanders has 50 receptions for 660 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s currently signed through the remainder of this season and has an opt-out clause for 2019. If picked up, the Patriots would owe him close to $13M for 2019, which is significantly less than DT’s potential $17M cap hit, which also has an opt-out. Sanders over Thomas just makes too much sense to me for that reason alone.

Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions

I can’t seem to wrap my head around this from Detroit’s standpoint. They’re trying to make a playoff run in a shitty division, but for some reason, they’ve been fielding calls for their best receiver. But nevertheless, since Tate appears to be on the block, the Patriots have to be considered a suitor based on their relationship with GM Bob Quinn and HC Matt Patricia. Tate is in a contract year, so it’d be a rental, but I think it could be worth it for the right price, which is a mid-round pick. He currently has 44 receptions on the season for 517 yards and and 3 touchdowns.

Bradley Roby, CB, Denver Broncos

Another Denver Bronco here. Bradley Roby would be a very interesting fit for the Patriots. He’s a physical corner who’s played primarily in the slot during his career, which is something the Pats should definitely try upgrading, but not for too much. I don’t think DB’s are their weakest point on the defense right now, but a guy like Roby is welcome on my team any day. In eight games this season, he’s racked up one interception and seven passes deflected. He’s currently in the final year of his rookie deal, so he’d be slated for unrestricted free agency following this season. Oh, and for those of you who forgot, he ended the Patriots season in 2016:

Rashaan Melvin, CB, Oakland Raiders

This is a very low-key move that I wouldn’t be shocked to see happen at all. The Raiders have shown us in recent weeks that they’re going to be sellers at this years deadline. The reason I wouldn’t be surprised to see this particular deal go down is because Melvin was on the Patriots in 2015. He was NOWHERE near the player he is now. Like I said with Roby, I don’t think corners are this team’s biggest need on defense right now, but some depth wouldn’t hurt. Melvin knows the system, so he’d be really easy to integrate back in. And since the Raiders have already paid a chunk of his contract for this season, the Patriots would be paying less than the $5M contract he’s currently on the books for. I don’t think it’d take a whole lot to get him here either.

Jamie Collins, LB, Cleveland Browns

Jamie Collins might be the one guy I want most other than Sanders at this year’s deadline. Everyone in New England knows that he was an absolute stud before Belichick traded him in the middle of the 2016 season. His Browns career hasn’t been too hot, but he’s still a solid coverage linebacker, which I think the Pats desperately need right now. Cleveland extended him to a 4-year, $50M contract after acquiring him, but there’s an opt-out for the 2019 season. If he were to perform up to those numbers in a second stint here, I’d be shocked to see the Pats let him go again. But it’s always good to know that they can get out of his deal if it doesn’t end up working out. In 8 games this season, Collins has 34 solo tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 sacks, and 1 interception. Given the Patriots good trade relationship with Browns GM John Dorsey, I could really see this one happening.

The Patriots have been rumored to be in the market for a big name WR over the last few days, so guys like Tate and Sanders are at the top of my list for that position. And I know I mentioned it before, but I want no part of Demaryius Thomas, who they’ve also been linked to. Tomorrow will certainly be interesting to say the least.

-Nick Cherico (@CouchGuyCherico)

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