8 players the Patriots could trade for at the deadline

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The New England Patriots are often active at the trade deadline, in search of a piece that can help put them into Super Bowl contention. This year, it’s a little different, with the team sitting at 3-4 while staring down a tough stretch against solid teams: the Los Angeles Chargers, the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns. So it’s no certainty they’ll be buyers at the deadline.

But if the Patriots’ win over the Jets served as any indication, Bill Belichick thinks his team can make the playoffs — and it feels like he’s trying to instill that faith in his team, too. It’s possible he trades away receiver N’Keal Harry. But perhaps he’ll also be on the hunt for a few pieces to add.

Broncos CB Kyle Fuller

He has been outright bad in Denver, which has benched him despite his hefty $9.5 million contract. Trading for Fuller, because of that contract, could make for tricky locker room dynamics with J.C. Jackson awaiting a new contract. Belichick doesn’t like bringing in a player like Fuller (a likely CB2) if he’s paying that player more than the incumbent starter. It can negatively impact team chemistry. So that’s why this would be a tough sell. That said, Denver would be thrilled to get rid of him. So perhaps the Patriots can swallow the size of the deal because the trade compensation would be absurdly low, perhaps just a seventh-round pick.

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

He has fallen out of favor in San Francisco, with coach Kyle Shanahan making little use of the receiver’s talents after Aiyuk had a rough training camp and offseason. Perhaps it would be best to get him a change of scenery — and, fittingly, the Patriots have a receiver who seems to need the same in N’Keal Harry. New England could pack Harry with a mid-round pick to land Aiyuk, a clear upgrade for them if he buys into the program in New England.

Browns CB Greedy Williams

Because Cleveland has so much depth at cornerback, it might be willing to part ways with a talented and promising player like Williams for the right price. New England, which has uncertainty at cornerback in the coming years, would be wise to land a defensive back who can contribute beyond 2021. That’s what is appealing with Williams. He’s a good play on a reasonable contract (as a former second-round pick). The downside? The Browns are likely to have a fairly high asking price for Williams.

Falcons WR Calvin Ridley

Let’s toy around with the idea of a blockbuster. The Patriots have depth at receiver and tight end, but they don’t have a top-end option in the offense. It’s hard to imagine the Patriots investing more money and assets into the position. It’s also fun to imagine them doing it.

Ridley would likely cost a package that includes at least one first-round pick — and probably two. That said, he’s an absolute stud who would completely change the offense and help accelerate Mac Jones’ development.

Raiders DE Clelin Ferrell

Here’s an interesting buy-low option for New England. They don’t necessarily need a defensive end, but considering Ferrell was a top-10 pick in the draft, he is the type of reclamation project Belichick enjoys. Ferrell might be on the move this year or next, with the Raiders using him sparingly and mostly as a run defender. Perhaps New England can make that work in their system and see if Belichick’s magic helps him progress as a pass-rusher.

Jaguars DL K'lavon Chaisson

His story is similar to that of Ferrell. The Jaguars drafted Chaisson at 20th overall in 2020, and he hasn’t developed into the player they’d hoped. He isn’t seeing the field all that much. In New England, he could get a fresh start under Belichick. Chaisson has put together his most promising performances over the last few weeks, with a particularly good showing in Week 6 (with a sack and six tackles). Maybe that means the Jaguars will want to hold onto him. Maybe they’ll be OK to sell at a high point.

Packers CB Kevin King

He has dealt with inconsistency and injuries in his career so far. But he has talent. King is buried in a deep group of Packers cornerbacks, with the team drafting Eric Stokes in the first round this offseason to go with star Jaire Alexander. New England might be able to pry King away from the Packers. It helps, too, that the Patriots would only owe him $1 million in 2021. They could try him out for a season and potentially extend his contract, which expires in 2022.

Rams DB Terrell Burgess

New England may have Devin McCourty back in the mix for Week 8, with the safety exiting last week’s context with an abdomen injury. McCourty was at practice. But if he does need to miss time, then the Patriots might want to consider their options at the position. Burgess is one of them. He has barely played this year despite showing significant promise during his rookie season in 2020. If he’s not seeing the field in L.A., perhaps he has fallen out of favor with the organization.

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