Things you can expect to find in late October in New England: the leaves turning, the temperature steadily decreasing and the Patriots pulling off a trade.
Bill Belichick’s club regularly is among the NFL’s most active ahead of the trade deadline, swinging deadline deals in five of the last six years.
In each of the last two seasons, those deals were full-blown blockbusters: the shipping of starting linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Brown in 2016 and the swapping of quarterback-of-the-future Jimmy Garoppolo for a San Francisco 49ers’ second-round pick last Halloween.
And there’s a good chance that trend will continue this year.
With just eight days remaining before the 2018 trade deadline on Oct. 30, Belichick made it clear his team is more than willing to entertain trade offers.
“As you know, a trade is a two-way street, so you have to have a trade partner,” the Patriots coach said Monday on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria.” “But I would say in our case, probably the other 31 teams — probably excluding the ones in our division that we’re probably not going to deal with — but the other teams in the league. I think they know that we are willing to trade.
“If they have a player for whatever reason they want to trade, in all honesty, usually we get a call, because we are a team that trades. There are some teams that do, some that don’t. I am not saying we’d make a lot of trades, but if the situation was right we would certainly consider it. We’ve made our share, so I would say, for the most part, we hear from teams if they have a player that there is interest in.”
Belichick, whose list of deadline acquisitions includes cornerback Aqib Talib in 2012, defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga in 2013, linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers in 2014 and linebacker Kyle Van Noy in 2016, said in most instances, other teams approach the Patriots with players they’re looking to move. That’s not always the case, though.
“Sometimes we initiate it based on whatever the set of circumstances are,” Belichick explained. “Generally, we hear from other people. Unless there is something we identify that we feel they are not considering it, but if you put something on the table, maybe they would consider it. There are some situations that could come up like that.”
The Patriots need depth at running back following Sony Michel’s knee injury Sunday — which, while reportedly not season-ending, could sideline him for a few weeks — and could benefit from adding an additional linebacker or defensive end, too. They also reportedly have expressed interest in trading for three-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson, who wants out of Arizona after seven-plus seasons with the Cardinals.
New England doesn’t have a dire need for cornerback help, but adding a player of Peterson’s caliber would give its struggling defense an undeniable boost.
“Sometimes, these trades are very short-sighted,” said Belichick, speaking generally about deadline moves. “They’re only for a few weeks. Like when we traded for Talib. It was really only for eight games. Now, we were able to re-sign him, but we didn’t know that at the time. …
“Certainly, we have heard from teams that have said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in so-and-so?’ ‘Well, we’re not ready to do anything now, but maybe when we get closer to the deadline, we’ll see how our depth is.’ There’s a lot of that.”