Should Patriots Have Been In On Tyreek Hill Before Dolphins Trade?

Miami acquired Hill for five picks including a 2022 first-rounder

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Two divisional rivals of the New England Patriots reportedly were the final suitors for Tyreek Hill before the Kansas City Chiefs sent the All-Pro wideout to the Miami Dolphins for five NFL draft picks.

The Jets reportedly were the other finalist to acquire Hill, who made the decision on where he wanted to be traded. The Patriots have key factors in common with both New York and Miami: all three teams have quarterbacks on rookie contracts and all three should be trying to put talent around their young signal-caller for developmental purposes. It likely played a major role in why both the Jets and Dolphins were in the mix for Hill, so should the Patriots have been, too?

Well, no.

The benefit of having a quarterback on a rookie contract tends to be the biggest advantage any team in the NFL can have. But having to give up five draft picks, including a 2022 first-rounder, to then pay a 28-year-old receiver that relies on his speed the same money ($30 million average annual value, $72 million guaranteed) as a quarterback isn’t exactly a smart business model, especially for a team like the Patriots that isn’t one piece away.

The Patriots certainly could use a WR1, but they also have holes on the offensive line, could use speed at linebacker and, and despite Wednesday’s signing of veteran Malcolm Butler, need to add depth at cornerback.

Hill undoubtedly would have solved one of those needs to help second-year quarterback Mac Jones. After all, he’s a six-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and arguably the hardest player in the league to defend. Hill’s lightning quick speed makes him a threat to score at any place on the field. It makes offenses much more difficult to defend. It’s also helped him finish with more than 1,200 yards in three of the last four seasons — and the only one he didn’t was due to missing four games.

But Hill on the Patriots wouldn’t catapult New England to contending status in a now loaded AFC. And from roster-building standpoint, there’s other ways to add talent to help Jones. New England, for example, could use a high pick on a pass-catcher. The Patriots also could use their projected cap space next year to land an impactful receiver they missed out on when the drafted N’Keal Harry instead.

There’s also a very reasonable argument — despite some differing in their belief to how major or minor a factor — that Hill isn’t worthy of being treated like the star of the franchise given his off-the-field issues. Hill was charged with domestic violence in college before facing a troubling child abuse allegation in 2019. The Patriots trading for a player with on-field skill and character concerns may not be a welcomed idea for owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and an organization that recently did the same for Antonio Brown.

All told, there likely was more than one reason the Patriots didn’t join their AFC East counterparts in pursuing Hill, and it’s for the better.

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