FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots have been quiet on the trade front this summer. But if recent history is any indication, there’s a good chance they swing at least one deal before the 2018 NFL season begins.
Bill Belichick’s club has completed at least one August or early September trade in five of the last six years — 17 total during that span, including five in 2017.
It’s tough to predict potential Patriots trade partners, but crossing teams off that list is much simpler.
“There’s no question it’s always easier to talk to a team you’re not in direct competition with, either that’s not on your schedule (or) certainly not in your division,” Belichick said Wednesday. “But if they’re not on your schedule or if they’re not in your conference, that makes it a lot easier.”
Of the 17 aforementioned trades, just two were with teams the Patriots had on their schedule that season — linebacker Barkevious Mingo from the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and defensive end Jerel Worthy from the Green Bay Packers in 2014 — and none were within the AFC East.
The vast majority (13 of 17) of those deals were with NFC teams, and two of the AFC partners had previous connections to Belichick: Michael Lombardi’s Browns in 2016 and Bill O’Brien’s Houston Texans in 2014 (Ryan Mallett).
Given that track record, it’s likely any trade the Patriots make over the next few weeks will be with a team from the NFC East, NFC South or NFC West, since New England plays the NFC North this season.
New York Giants
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Other potential — though less likely — candidates include the six AFC teams the Patriots do not play this season: the Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.
“AFC to NFC, that’s usually a pretty easy trade from that standpoint,” Belichick said. “A lot of times those relationships can be developed because you’re not in direct competition with that team. I mean, we have, I think, good relationships with really all the teams in the league, but we don’t do a lot of transactions with the ones in the AFC East. So that’s pretty normal. That’s the way it’s been with most every other team I’ve been with, too. There hasn’t been a lot of activity between teams that are in the same division.”
The Patriots were very active late last summer, completing one trade each with the Bengals (linebacker Marquis Flowers), Detroit Lions (cornerback Johnson Bademosi) and Indianapolis Colts (quarterback Jacoby Brissett for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett) and two with the Seattle Seahawks (one involving cornerback Justin Coleman and another involving defensive end Cassius Marsh).
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