Trent Brown trade could be the calm before a vengeful Bill Belichick storm

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Jordy McElroy
·4 min read
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The rain clouds are swirling overhead, and the howling of the winds have come to life in Foxborough. A sliver of lightning streaks across the darkened sky with roars of thunder blaring in the background. Or is that the sound of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick pounding his chest amid the giant footsteps of former Pro Bowl tackle Trent Brown?

Fee-fi-fo-fum.

We’ve had an entire month to pile on coach Belichick after quarterback Tom Brady took the Jedi Code to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won a Super Bowl in his first venture outside of New England.

Yes, Belichick made a terrible mistake in rushing Brady out the door. Yes, his roster management blunders are starting to overshadow his elite coaching abilities. And yes, the Patriots have enough holes right now to sink a supertanker in a kiddy pool.

All of that is true, but it didn’t stop Belichick from wheeling and dealing while some of you were sound asleep on Tuesday morning.

Bringing a mammoth-sized tackle like Brown back into the fold makes the Patriots beefier in the trenches. He has the footwork to make pass rushers cry uncle, along with the bruising power to throw around bodies for some good old-fashioned smash-mouth football.

It was an A-plus move for the Patriots.

More importantly, however, it was the sort of move that might have given us a little insight into Belichick’s mindset heading into the new league year. Brown was probably on his way out of Oakland regardless, but Belichick was super aggressive in stepping up and sending a fifth-round draft pick in exchange for Brown and a seventh-rounder. That essentially nixed the possibility of another team sweet-talking the 27-year-old in free agency.

The Patriots are sitting pretty in cap space heading into next season. Could this be the first move in a slew of major trades and free agent acquisitions? Did seeing Brady win elsewhere finally make Belichick snap to the point where he’s willing to push all of the chips on the table?

Pump the brakes.

“When you’re looking at salary cap and player salaries and things like that, you just can’t look at it in a short-term window. At some point, you have to take a longer look at things,” Belichick recently said at a media conference.

“Is there a cost in the future and what is that cost, so forth? Or, what would that gain be if we were to trade a player away? It just depends on whether you’re bringing one in or one’s going out. So, there are some implications that we would work through on the financial side or the people that handle that information and not just again currently, but over the coming years. So, it would really be a conversation that would look at all those aspects of it.”

The market is tightening due to COVID-19, and Belichick clearly isn’t willing to compromise the team’s long-term future to satiate dissatisfied Patriots fans’ need for a short-term splurge. However, it would likewise be preposterous to assume he’ll go into next season with his hands in his pockets, kicking an empty Coke can down a driveway.

Timing is on the Patriots’ side with so many talented players being pushed out on the streets thanks to the constricting salary cap. Guys like Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, Miami Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy and so many other impactful veteran players will be dangling like carrots on the open market.

The Patriots have the luxury of being one of the teams not neck-deep in salary cap hell with the new number set at $182.5 million. That’s an eight percent drop from 2020, and it has forced some contenders to turn to purging their roster.

Belichick doesn’t have to be reckless to be an opportunist.

He can continue to ninja his way through press conferences deflecting questions about Brady, but the fact remains the way the 2020 season ended can’t be sitting right with him. Brady lifted the veil of the Patriot Way and showed himself as a fierce and ruthless competitor in Tampa Bay.

You don’t think that alter-ego exists for Belichick as well?

He constructed the greatest dynasty in NFL history, and it’s being thrown back in his face with talking heads, fans and even former players saying it was more about Brady. The vengeful coach known for hoarding bulletin board material isn’t going to suddenly turn a blind eye when it’s aimed directly at him.

He’ll come out swinging with the hopes of burying that narrative. Pulling the trigger on the Brown trade was the first real jab to get people talking. The move that follows could be the massive right hand that has the rest of the league staring up at the lights and wondering what happened.