Two Offensive Players The Patriots Need to Trade at The Deadline

With less than a week to go before the NFL trade deadline, the New England Patriots are in an awkward position. Before the victory over the Buffalo Bills, the sky was falling and fans wanted the team to be a seller at the end of the month.

Now with the positive emotions following Sunday’s upset over one of the league’s best teams, emotions are more split; but they shouldn’t be. The Patriots still remain miles away from being a true contender and if they are not sellers at the deadline, it will be a colossal mistake.

Here are two offensive players the Patriots need to be shopping.

READ MORE: Defenders who should be traded

Two Offensive Players The Patriots Need to Trade at The Deadline

Hunter Henry

One of the big free agent signings of 2021, Hunter Henry has mostly delivered on his three-year $37.5 million dollar contract. In his first year with New England, he became the go-to pass-catching threat in the redzone scoring nine touchdowns while catching 50 passes for over 600 yards.

Since then, he’s continued to be a reliable middle-of-the-field target that Mac Jones can trust. His run blocking always leaves a lot to be desired, but that’s been nothing unexpected since his signing.

Why They Should Trade Him

With Henry scheduled to be a free agent this offseason and turning 29 this winter, he’s nearing the end of his peak as a pro. Not to mention the frustration he has shown with what has obviously been a difficult year, it’s likely Henry will want to test the open market unless an extension offer blows him away. Henry could command a decent return for New England, so this makes too much sense for both parties.

Why They Should Keep Him

Tight ends are notorious for being the slowest developing position in the sport. They often take until year three, four, or even five to reach their potential. New England predictably has no one in the pipeline to take over for Henry if he’s moved. Extending Henry would completely be about not bottoming out at the position like they did when Rob Gronkowski retired.

Possible Landing Spots

Los Angeles Chargers

A reunion with the Chargers would make sense. Their head coach is fighting for his job, there is an obvious need at the position, and they need another pass-catching threat. With Mike Williams tearing his ACL and first-round rookie Quentin Johnston failing to make an impact so far, the Chargers are once again overly reliant on Keenan Allen and Henry would be a nice complimentary threat.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have struggled to find a reliable pass catcher behind Travis Kelce since they traded Tyreek Hill. Kadarius Toney has been given ample chances and Rashee Rice has shown his speed on a couple of plays this year, but there’s no denying that counting on Rice to fully develop by the playoffs is a risk.

The Chiefs have pivoted to heavier personnel since moving away from Hill and acquiring Henry would not only give them another trustworthy pass catcher but continue to allow them to play more 12 and 13-personnel looks.

Dallas Cowboys

Through the first six weeks, Dallas looks poised to be one of the best teams in the NFC. That being said the blowout loss to the 49ers, the team that they couldn’t score against in last year’s playoff loss, was a reminder that they are not within the top tier of NFL teams.

One issue addressed this offseason was the need for another receiver to take some of the burden off CeeDee Lamb. The trade for Brandin Cooks and Michael Gallup‘s improved health was hoped to be enough, but it appears Cooks is in decline and Gallup remains just a number three receiver.

Adding Henry would allow Dallas to not only vary their personnel groups more frequently but also continue to give Dak Prescott more threats with the ball.

Expected Compensation

4th-5th Round Pick

Kendrick Bourne

Bourne was a solid find by Belichick in the 2021 offseason. After leaving San Francisco, he became the second-leading receiver for rookie Mac Jones. He fell out of favor in the disaster Matt Patricia offensive coordinator experience but has since regained his spot starting for New England and has been their best receiver in 2023.

He may never be more than a solid number three on a contending team, but his inside-outside versatility and decent YAC skills make him a solid complimentary receiver in today’s game.

Why They Should Trade Him

Bourne is another soon-to-be free agent, approaching age 30, in a wide receiver-needy league. Trading Bourne would not only give the Patriots another draft pick to help rebuild this ailing roster, but it will hinder Belichick from squeezing out some unneeded wins in the back half of this year. It will also open the door for youngsters like Tyquan Thornton, Kayshon Boutte, and Demario Douglas to get more playing time.

Why They Should Keep Him

If New England is concerned that they may use their first-round pick on a quarterback and will have difficulty adding anyone else meaningful to their pass-catching corps next offseason, you could make the case of bringing Bourne back so a rookie quarterback or Mac Jones isn’t once again completely hung out to dry.

Possible Landing Spots

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo is under pressure to start making real runs in the playoffs after their infamous loss to the Chiefs two years ago and a tough loss to Cincinnati last year. They have also been dealt tough blows on defense losing number one corner Tre’Davious White and linebacker Matt Milano for the season.

The offense may need to pick up the slack, but they are still overly dependent on Stefon Diggs to carry the load. Kendrick Bourne would give Josh Allen another solid pass-catching threat to add to Gabriel Davis and Dalton Kincaid, and he allows Buffalo to deploy more 11 personnel looks.

Miami Dolphins

The idea that Miami needs any additions to their league-leading offense may sound ridiculous, but the Dolphins have pushed their chips into the middle of the table. They have taken big swings to acquire Tyreek Hill, Bradley Chubb, and Jalen Ramsey. Bourne would give the Dolphins some size they lack, and an upgrade of Braxton Berrios.

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City’s receiving corps of Marques Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Justin Watson, Rashee Rice, and Kadarius Toney could easily be the group that sinks an otherwise very well-rounded roster.

Bourne’s adjusted YPRR (Yards Per Route Run) of 1.45 is higher than every Chief except for Watson, who only has 10 catches this year. An early day three pick is a small price to pay to level up this receiving core and improve Mahomes’ chances at his third Super Bowl ring.

Expected Compensation

4th – 5th  Round Pick

Why This Is So Important

The trade deadline is a crucial measuring stick for the Patriots. It’s either an acceptance of where they are as a franchise, with a goal of maximizing future improvement as a team as much as possible, or an outdated view on winning now, even at the cost of the future.

It’s unlikely all of these veterans are moved, but some of them need to go. With the amount of cap space available to New England this offseason, they are likely once again to be big spenders in free agency.

Signing other team’s free agents will negate most or all compensation picks that would have otherwise been rewarded back to the team. Solving this problem before they repeat the mistakes of the 2021 offseason, is the first real step towards turning this team around.

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