The New England Patriots made a massive and unexpected splash in the trade market Monday, dealing star linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a compensatory third-round draft pick.
It was a stunning trade for the Patriots, who seemingly made their defense worse in the midst of a Super Bowl push. It was not, however, surprising to see New England pull the trigger on a deal the day before the NFL trade deadline.
Football’s trade deadline isn’t nearly the bonanza it is in the NBA, NHL and MLB, but the Patriots have taken advantage of it in recent years, swinging deals at or shortly before the deadline in four of the past five seasons.
Here’s a quick look back at the Patriots’ recent deadline activity:
The Patriots stood pat at the 2015 deadline after acquiring defensive lineman Akiem Hicks from the New Orleans Saints one month earlier. Hicks, who’s now with the Chicago Bears, tallied 21 tackles and three sacks in 13 games with New England.
The Patriots swung two trades in the week leading up to the 2014 deadline, acquiring linebackers Akeem Ayers and Jonathan Casillas from the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, respectively. Ayers racked up four sacks in nine games for the Pats, while Casillas primarily was used on special teams. Both played in Super Bowl XLIX before departing in free agency.
On Oct. 29, 2013, the Patriots sent a fifth-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and a sixth-rounder. Sopoaga started in his first two games following the trade and played in the next four, but he was inactive for Weeks 16 and 17, and did not dress for New England’s two playoff games. The Patriots released him after the season.
Outside of the Collins deal, the most significant trade on this list came in 2012, when the Patriots acquired cornerback Aqib Talib and a seventh-round pick from the Bucs in exchange for a fourth-round selection. Talib re-signed with the Patriots the following offseason and was one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks in 2013, tallying four interceptions and 14 pass breakups and earning second-team All-Pro honors. He has kept up that production since signing with the Denver Broncos in 2014, receiving consecutive Pro Bowl nods.
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images