The Patriots didn’t make a splashy move during the first wave of free agency, but there still are multiple options available in the trade market.

New England reportedly has “looked into” the idea of trading for a high-end player who can help the team right away. There weren’t specifics, but on offense, Tee Higgins and Brandon Aiyuk are the top candidates. Higgins reportedly requested a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals, and Aiyuk enters the final year of his contract.

Matt Barrows, who covers the San Francisco 49ers for The Athletic, answered a question in his mailbag column this week about the possibility of Aiyuk getting traded before the 2024 NFL Draft. Barrows believes the situation with the 26-year-old wide receiver will play out similarly to how Deebo Samuel’s situation did last year before he signed his contract extension.

“The 49ers kept their phone lines open before, and especially during, the draft to see what kind of offers Samuel would bring,” Barrows wrote. “They got draft-day proposals from the New York Jets and Detroit Lions, but the 49ers didn’t budge. They were solid offers (especially the Jets’) but the 49ers needed to be blown away to let go of Samuel, who was coming off his incredible 2021 campaign.

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“I think a similar scenario is in play for Aiyuk, who has excellent chemistry with Brock Purdy: The 49ers will listen to offers but it will take something monumental to let him go.”

It’s unknown how much the Patriots are willing to part with when it comes to trading for a marquee player. New England reportedly hasn’t “shown an appetite” to trade the No. 3 pick nor should it. And de facto general manager and director of scouting Eliot Wolf reportedly desires to accumulate more draft assets to address the needs of the roster.

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If the 49ers do want “something monumental” as Barrows speculated, Aiyuk might not be on the Patriots’ radar.

The Chicago Bears acquired Keenan Allen and didn’t give up that many key assets, but Aiyuk likely would need to publicly want out of San Francisco for New England to truly be in the running to set up a dream scenario.

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