The list of potential Patriots trade candidates is growing by the day, and reportedly now includes JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Hours before New England’s Sunday afternoon road loss to the Miami Dolphins, Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard reported the Patriots would listen “closely” to offers for Smith-Schuster. Bedard also echoed other reports in saying edge rusher Josh Uche is the most likely Patriot to get moved before Tuesday’s trade deadline.

“From what I’m hearing, it would take a big offer — at least a third-round pick, likely more — to get the Patriots to budge on anyone else major: Kyle Dugger, Hunter Henry, Mike Onwenu, Trent Brown,” Bedard wrote. “However, the Patriots would listen more closely on Adrian Phillips, Jalen Mills, Devante Parker, Juju Smith-Schuster and Ezekiel Elliott. Trading Elliott would be a real coup — signed for nothing and offloaded to a contender for something?”

Bedard added: “From those around the team … Uche is the favorite to be moved, but don’t expect much else. ‘Bill is going to Bill,’ one said. ‘He’s trying to win. Takes a lot for him to move on this kind of stuff.’ “

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The question, of course, is which team even would want Smith-Schuster?

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Be it due to injuries or general decline, or both, the 26-year-old has looked awful this season. Smith-Schuster posted just 15 catches for 89 yards and one touchdown in his first six games, and his lingering knee injury appears to be a real problem. He basically was a healthy scratch against the Dolphins.

Smith-Schuster’s contract also is an issue. He isn’t guaranteed any money for 2025, but he’s guaranteed $7 million in 2024. Any team that cuts Smith-Schuster before June 1 of next year would incur $12.2 million in dead salary cap money along with a net loss of $1.6 million. Releasing him after June 1 would result in a $9.6 million dead cap hit and $1 million in cap savings.

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So, he’s expensive but isn’t any good. That’s a bad combination.

It also is fair to wonder whether New England’s plans could change after learning that Kendrick Bourne tore his ACL on Sunday. Smith-Schuster won’t replace Bourne’s production, but the Patriots need bodies at receiver unless they want to go into full-tanking mode.

The NFL trade deadline is set for 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Featured image via Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports Images