The closer we get to the NFL trade deadline, the more it feels like Josh Uche could be playing elsewhere sometime soon.

The Patriots edge rusher has popped up in pre-deadline rumors and, for multiple reasons, feels like a logical trade candidate regardless of whether New England turns its season around. Uche, who racked up 11.5 sacks last season, is a talented player but will hit free agency in March. He also remains an awkward fit in Bill Belichick’s defense, with his shaky play against the run likely a factor in why he still isn’t a three-down player.

During a 98.5 The Sports Hub appearance Wednesday, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer revealed Uche has generated the “most” trade interest among Patriots players. He also touched on New England’s overall deadline mindset, including what the Patriots are hoping to get back in trades.

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“So, my understanding is they’re listening on everybody,” Breer said. “I think the one guy that’s come up the most as a potential guy that could get moved is Josh Uche. … He’s valuable, and he has a premium skill, which is as a pass-rusher. So, they’re gonna listen on, my understanding is, just about everybody. Now, that’s within reason. Like, they’re not gonna trade Christian Gonzalez off IR. But they’re gonna listen.

“And the more people I talked to last week, the more I got the idea that they’re gonna be fishing around for, like, third- and fourth-round picks a little bit. So, if they can add one of those or two of those for a player that maybe isn’t playing a lot, or they’re not gonna re-sign, I think that would be the sort of idea that they’d be looking at.”

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There’s just one problem, however.

Uche isn’t exactly having the greatest contract season. The 2020 second-round pick posted just two sacks through the first six games and missed Week 7 due to a foot injury. So, his value surely is lower than it was during the offseason.

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Nevertheless, the Michigan product will be a name to watch as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches.

Featured image via Kris Craig/USA TODAY Sports Images