FOXBORO -- It's not easy to pull off trades in the NFL around the deadline. Just look at how many are completed in the final days leading up to the deadline every year. Yet the Patriots have worked two already, and they have until Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. to execute another.
One of the trades they pushed through earlier this week saw them send a sixth-round pick to the Lions in exchange for a seventh-rounder and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. What helped that deal cross the finish line was the relationship between the front offices in Detroit and New England.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn spent the majority of his professional career working for the Patriots under Bill Belichick, serving most recently as Belichick's director of pro scouting until being named to his current position in Detroit.
Belichick acknowledged on Wednesday that there are times when having a long-standing relationship with someone can help a trade get done.
"I mean it could, yeah," Belichick said. "I mean, you know, there are a lot of teams that don’t . . . they seem kind of reluctant to trade -- this time of year, especially. But it’s one of those things that came up fairly quickly and just worked out. It wasn’t something we had talked about or anything like that previously. As I said, it kind of came up so we were able to work it out.
"Look, Bob's great to work with. But we made another trade with another team in our conference so if it’s there to be made, it’s there to be made. If it’s not, it’s not."
That other trade saw the Patriots send tight end AJ Derby to AFC rival Denver in exchange for a fifth-round pick.
Belichick doesn't seem to care much about who he's trading with -- "We’re trying to make our team better," he said, "that’s what we’re trying to do" -- but because of the league's reluctance to deal, it seems that if the Patriots are looking for help at tight end, along their offensive line, or at pass-rusher, they may be more likely to find it by calling old friends in Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Houston or Atlanta, where former Belichick proteges are now employed.