The Patriots reportedly have been among the teams lurking around Chargers stars Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa — all of whom are candidates to be moved by 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

If that’s still the case, New England needs to cut it out.

Los Angeles likely will make wholesale changes Wednesday, as it is roughly $25 million over the cap. If the Chargers want to lower that number, they’ll have to cut or trade some combination of Allen, Williams, Mack and Bosa. That group accounts for four of the highest cap hits in the NFL, all of which come in at north of $32 million.

Could the Patriots take advantage of that by adding a good player? Yes, but they could also fall into a trap if they don’t navigate this process very carefully.

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Mack and Bosa could have arguments made on their behalf that they’re worth the money, with the former setting a career-high in sacks (17) last season. Bosa’s still a fine player, but if any of these guys are going to get outright cut, it’s probably him. We’ve already discussed those two at length.

Allen and Williams are a different story. It doesn’t really matter what it would take to acquire them, because whether it’s money or assets, it won’t be worthwhile for the Patriots.

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New England is starved for talented receivers, but shouldn’t allow its desire to acquire one allow them to give up any assets for someone with a $30 million-plus cap hit who either is in his 30s (Allen) or has a scary injury history (Williams). The Patriots also have roughly 597,392 holes to fill on their roster, so giving up draft picks for one of them would be wrong.

If they want to acquire Allen or Williams, the first step would be watching the Chargers eat money and outright cut them. That would allow them to hit the open market, where the Patriots could make a competitive offer an obtain their services.

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They cannot make a trade, though. That’s just bad business.

Featured image via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images