Is it too early for Patriots to swing a trade to help depth?


Is it too early for Patriots to swing a trade to help depth?

A dream scenario for the Patriots would be for everyone to get magically healthy. Another would be for them to swing a trade that solves their injury woes. Both scenarios might be equally improbable. 

In just a matter of weeks, the Patriots have gone from a sure-thing Super Bowl champion to a team that can only hope it is healthy enough in the coming months to actually achieve that goal. 


No position is as vulnerable as wide receiver, which might currently have only one totally healthy player in Brandin Cooks. Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett were the only other two receivers to dress Sunday, but both had injury scares against the Saints. 

With Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell both on injured reserve and Danny Amendola recovering from head and knee injuries, an initially loaded wide receiver group could use reinforcements.

The good news: The Patriots like making in-season trades. The bad news: This isn’t really the time of year for that. 

This season saw a major uptick in trades just before Week 1. The Patriots were plenty busy there, trading Jacoby Brissett for Dorsett and also making deals for Cassius Marsh and Johnson Bademosi. 

Yet after Week 1 is a different story. There hasn’t been a trade in the NFL since the season started, and last year there wasn’t an in-season trade made until Week 7, when the Packers picked up Knile Davis from the Chiefs. The Pats made trades last season (getting Kyle Van Noy, shipping A.J. Derby and Jamie Collins out), but the first one of those didn’t come until Week 8. 

History says mid-to-late September is not a common time to actually solve problems via trade. To find a major deal, you’d have to go back to 2013, when the Colts foolishly gave the Browns a first-round pick for Trent Richardson. The Pats traded Randy Moss for a third-round pick in Week 5 of 2010. 

In 2015, there were seven trades made between the start of the season and the end of September. There weren’t any the year before.  

It makes sense why such deals usually don’t happen. It’s way too early for teams to throw in the towel. Take the Cardinals, for instance. They have not looked good through two games and are missing one of the best running backs in the league, but it would be crazy for them to pull the plug and trade off parts. 

So maybe some receiver can join the likes of Van Noy and Akeem Ayers as in-season trade additions that proved to fill a need. Week 3 might still be a little early for that, though. 

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...