The New England Patriots already pulled off one major trade this week, reportedly sending quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a second-round draft pick. Do they have another deal up their sleeve?
With the NFL trade deadline (4 p.m. ET on Tuesday) fast approaching, here’s a quick look back at how the Patriots have approached the deadline in recent years:
The Halloween blockbuster that sent Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns is the trade everyone remembers from last year, but one deal the Patriots made a week earlier also had a significant impact on New England’s defense. They sent a sixth-round draft pick to the Detroit Lions for linebacker Kyle Van Noy and a seventh-round pick, essentially getting Van Noy for free.
A rotational player last season, Van Noy now plays a much more important role for the Patriots, ranking third on the team in defensive snaps played behind Devin McCourty and Malcolm Butler.
“He’s been excellent,” head coach Bill Belichick said of the 26-year-old, who has played both off the line and on the edge this season.
The Patriots didn’t make any moves in the days leading up to the 2015 deadline, but they did swing a trade one month earlier, acquiring defensive lineman Akiem Hicks from the New Orleans Saints for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. In 15 games for the Patriots, Hicks recorded 24 tackles, three sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown. He’s now making the big bucks in Chicago after signing a four-year, $48 million contract extension with the Bears last month.
In a trade similar to the one they’d later pull off for Van Noy, the Patriots dealt a sixth-round pick to the Tennessee Titans for linebacker Akeem Ayers and a seventh. Ayers only played in 12 games for New England, including playoffs, but he tallied four sacks and an interception and helped the Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX.
One week after the Ayers deal, the Patriots acquired linebacker Jonathan Casillas and a sixth-round selection from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a fifth-rounder. Casillas finished out the season in New England, recording 31 tackles and one forced fumble in 11 games, before signing with the New York Giants.
The Patriots brought in a big body at the 2013 deadline, trading a fifth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and a sixth-rounder. Sopoaga didn’t contribute much for New England (two total tackles, one pass breakup), and his six games with the Pats turned out to be the last ones he played in his career.
Probably the best player named on this list, Aqib Talib came to the Patriots at the 2012 deadline after a tumultuous tenure in Tampa Bay. New England sent a fourth-round pick to the Bucs for Talib and a seventh-rounder, and the cornerback went on to earn Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors in 2013.
Talib had five interceptions in a Patriots uniform before signing a big-money contract with the Denver Broncos and cementing his status as one of the NFL’s top corners.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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