ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — After putting the finishing touches on a 25-6 win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday night, the New England Patriots’ players were faced with a harsh reality:
In all likelihood, the 53-man roster the Patriots carried into Monday’s game will not remain intact through Tuesday.
Tuesday marks the NFL trade deadline, ahead of which New England annually is one of the league’s most active teams. The Patriots have made at least one trade shortly before the deadline in five of the last six seasons — including major blockbusters in each of the last two — and head coach Bill Belichick has said they’re more than willing to deal again this year.
Because of this, deadline day is a surreal and stressful experience for many in New England’s locker room, including those who aren’t personally fearful of being shipped out of town.
“It’s always a weird moment, because any time, you could get a new teammate, which would cause somebody to get cut or somebody to get traded,” safety Duron Harmon said after Monday’s game. “So it’s a tough moment, but it’s part of the business. And I know just being here for as long as I’ve been here and other guys being here, you just understand it.
The Patriots currently have needs at defensive end and linebacker, and they reportedly are in the market for a top-flight wide receiver, as well. Wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Golden Tate are on their radar, according to reports, as is ex-Pats linebacker Jamie Collins, who’s been with the Cleveland Browns since New England sent him away in a deadline stunner two years ago.
Other trade candidates who could interest the Patriots include receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, linebackers Bruce Irvin and Deone Bucannon, tight end Jared Cook and safety Karl Joseph. Belichick and his staff are casting a wide net, with Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston reporting the Patriots have “spoken to virtually every team in the league and had conversations on more than two dozen players in play at a variety of positions.”
The Patriots have landed a slew of impact players in deadline deals, including Aqib Talib, Kyle Van Noy and Akeem Ayers. They’ve also parted ways with some high-profile players at this time of year, most notably Collins in 2016 and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017.
“It’s the business part of the NFL,” Harmon said. “Everything is not always good, but you learn to roll with it and continue to move on.”
This year’s deadline is 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Thumbnail photo via Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports Images