Patriots Mailbag: Is Trading For Wide Receiver At Deadline Now Inevitable?

The Patriots are down to three healthy wide receivers


Oct 30, 2020

Is there anything worse than a cold rain?

That’s the forecast for Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills when it will be rainy with a wind chill of 39 degrees and 37 mph gusts.

The Patriots might not need to rely on their inconsistent passing game in the “must-win” matchup.

Let’s get into this week’s mailbag.

Are we really gonna trade Steph?

It’s looking pretty likely that Stephon Gilmore could be moved.

I mean …

The NFL trade deadline, by the way, is Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. ET.

It makes sense to trade him. The Patriots need to do something with Gilmore’s contract by next season. He’s due just a $7 million salary. So, he’ll need a raise, an extension or to be traded.

If the Patriots feel like they can get more value for him now than in the offseason, then it probably makes sense to move on.

Do you now find it inevitable that the Patriots make a move for a receiver?

I wouldn’t say inevitable. But they should be in the hunt. The Patriots currently have just three healthy wide receivers on their active roster in Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski. And up to this point in his career, Olszewski has been more of a punt returner than an actual wide receiver.

So, they need to fill out the group. Hopefully, N’Keal Harry can return sooner than later from his concussion. The Patriots also have some intriguing options on their practice squad in Kristian Wilkerson and Isaiah Zuber. But now might be the time to swing a deal for a player, whether that’s a top-tier or depth option.

The place to start looking for wide receiver options are players buried on depth charts or on losing teams. Some potential names: Jamison Crowder, John Ross, Auden Tate, Keke Coutee, Will Fuller, Keelan Cole, Mike Williams, Michael Gallup, Golden Tate, Allen Robinson, Marvin Jones, Adam Thielen and Curtis Samuel.

Who will be Newton’s go to receiver with Edelman and Harry being limited?

It looks like it will be Jakobi Meyers based on Week 7. Damiere Byrd will probably continue to lead the Patriots’ wide receivers in snaps, however.

Meyers is a valuable asset because he can play inside or outside.

What’s up with Wino’s diminishing snap count? He had been one of the more productive defenders. #MailDoug

My theory is it’s all tied to the Patriots’ opponent. Chase Winovich was receiving a ton of snaps early this season because the Patriots were primarily playing in sub-packages against pass-heavy teams like the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. As the Patriots have played more base and nickel with bigger defenders on the field in recent weeks, Winovich’s snaps have decreased.

Winovich has played 100 snaps in dime, 58 in nickel, 22 in quarter (seven defensive backs) and four in goal-line. He hasn’t played a single snap in the Patriots’ “base” defense this season. The Patriots have actually only used their base defense on 23 snaps this season.

The Patriots obviously don’t see Winovich as one of their better run defenders as they’ve taken him off the field with more frequency against two run-heavy teams, the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers. If anything, Winovich was probably playing more than usual in the first four weeks of the season. The last two weeks have been a regression toward the mean.

With the Edelman news, do you think any WRs from the practice squad could come in and make a surprise impact like Fulgham has? If so, how would you rank them?

Travis Fulgham is a pretty high bar to set with 357 yards and three touchdowns in four games for the Eagles.

I think the Patriots view Zuber like a very poor man’s Deebo Samuel or Curtis Samuel who can use his speed and quickness on gadget plays.

Wilkerson has rare agility and quickness for a 6-foot-1, 214-pound wide receiver. He ran a blazing quick 6.68-second three-cone drill at his pro day this spring.

Mason Kinsey is on his second stint on the Patriots’ practice squad. He’s a slot-type receiver who’s built more like a third-down back at 5-foot-10, 198 pounds.

Zuber has the best shot at making an impact, but I’d like to see Wilkerson on the game field.

Loved the needs article. Play a game, will you ? In order of probability, the 2021 QB1 will be ? Newton, Stidham, Darnold, Jimmy G, Rosen, T.Taylor, Dak, Ryan, Brissett, Haskins, Fitzpatrick, a draft pick #MailDoug

That’s so tough. I feel like the Patriots QBs have to be at the top of the list just because they’re currently on the team. Any QB who’s on another roster will naturally have a lower probability of being on the Patriots in 2021.

So, I’ll go:

1. Cam Newton
2. Jarrett Stidham
3. Draft pick
4. Jimmy Garoppolo
5. Jacoby Brissett
6. Ryan Fitzpatrick
7. Sam Darnold
8. Matt Ryan
9. Dak Prescott
10. Dwayne Haskins
11. Tyrod Taylor
12. Josh Rosen

-Am I crazy for thinking, the 3 Cone drill the reason, WR’s fail after being drafted Here?
-Harry Sony both never did it at the Combine.
-Dobson was not Known for quickness either.
-Seems like they have much better success with Quickness.
-Branch Brown Welker Dola etc.

I do find it odd that Sony Michel and N’Keal Harry, both of whom were drafted in the first round, didn’t hit the Patriots’ typical three-cone threshold. Michel never ran the three-cone. Harry was timed at 7.05 seconds at his pro day. That’s a pretty decent time for a wide receiver who’s 225 pounds, but the Patriots have found their most success with guys who run the three-cone in less than 7 seconds like Deion Branch (6.71 seconds), David Givens (6.82 seconds), Julian Edelman (6.62 seconds) and Malcolm Mitchell (6.94 seconds).

That being said, wide receivers like Josh Boyce, Chad Jackson and Taylor Price also aced the three-cone drill. So, it’s definitely not a completely predictive stat.

Let’s go rapid fire.

Would you rather have Kirk Cousins or Matt Ryan as the Patriots QB next year?


Why did the patriots let Tom Brady go?

I wouldn’t describe it that way.

If the Patriots end with a losing record, do they draft a QB in the first round? Is it too early to ask that?

It’s not too early to ask that, but it might be too early to answer it. Where are they picking? Who’s in front of them? Who winds up declaring? Does anyone get injured?

It would be smart.

To be honest, not overly enamoured with the options on the trade market.

Granted there’s a steep learning curve and there’s a reason both are on PS, but is it time to elevate Zay Zuber permanently and Kristian Wilkerson and just see what’s there? #MailDoug
I think the Patriots should give Zuber and Wilkerson a shot even if they make a trade. This is a good year to give practice squad players opportunities with the new elevation rules.

Can you come up with a better MA Hardcore show to describe the Patriots current offense with news Edelman is now down: Panic, American Nightmare, New Lows, Meltdown, Living Hell. #maildoug

Can Down To Nothing and Horror Show hop on too?

Does Meyers keep a starting job for the rest of the year

I say yes. He has the versatility to play inside and outside. So, he has a spot no matter who else is healthy.

You appear to be a Beach Boys fan – true?

They’ve been my favorite band since I was 7 years old.

Here are some lesser known Beach Boys tunes:

Who chooses who is up for interviews? Is it the Pats or are they requested by the media pool?

It’s a little bit of both. We can make requests, and Patriots media relations can select players or choose to make them unavailable.

Maildoug Will we see Kristian Wilkerson in the next few games or the near future? He has the size and the ability, just needs the chance I believe!

You guys know I’m driving the Wilkerson bandwagon.

favorite burger place

I think Whataburger is the best fast-food burger. Shake Shack, Steak ‘n Shake and In-N-Out are good too.

I also really like The Fix in Worcester.

Dream Halloween costume for you solo and/or for your family?
Budget is unlimited

Movie-quality Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

If Jets are tanking for Trevor, do you seriously think Sam Darnold would be a realistic option? And would that mean that Cam is one (year) and done? #MailDoug

I mean, with the way Newton is playing, he looks one-and-done anyway. Darnold is only a realistic option if the New York Jets are willing to trade him in the division.

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton
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