The second trade the New England Patriots pulled off Friday came as a major surprise, and not because of the player involved.
The deal, which reportedly sent Buffalo Bills center Russell Bodine to New England in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick, was between two division rivals — a rarity in the NFL. Teams are loath to do anything to assist their closest competitors, especially teams coached by Bill Belichick.
Before the Bodine swap, the Patriots had not completed a trade with the Bills since they shipped quarterback Drew Bledsoe to Orchard Park way back in 2002.
In fact, according to Pro Football Reference data obtained by Christopher Price of The Boston Globe, the Patriots have traded within the AFC East just five times since Belichick took over as head coach in 2000. That list includes two trades with the Bills, three with the Miami Dolphins (none since the Wes Welker deal in 2007) and zero with Belichick’s least favorite franchise, the New York Jets.
Bodine, whose offensive coordinator in Buffalo, Brian Daboll, is a former Patriots assistant, could play an important role for New England this season. With 74 career starts at center under his belt, the 27-year-old projects as either the Patriots’ replacement for David Andrews — who could miss the entire season after being hospitalized for blood clots in his lungs — or an experienced backup behind Ted Karras.
The Patriots also traded cornerback Duke Dawson to the Denver Broncos on Friday.
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