PHOENIX -- Does it seem weirdly convenient to you that the best team in football is perpetually leaked to every player who may at some point become available?
It does to me, which is why I usually react to murmurs the Patriots are pursuing someone with a level of doubt.
Take the Josh Rosen rumor dropped by FOX analyst Joel Klatt on Wednesday. The assertion that the Patriots are one of three teams actively pursuing a trade for the Cardinals quarterback means speculation of something that could/should happen has become reality.
Nothing validates a player’s worth more than having the Patriots linked to him. They are the ultimate stalking horse, a surefire way to make GMs for the 31 other teams at least take notice and maybe re-evaluate.
And, in many cases, it doesn’t hurt the Patriots one bit to be mentioned as being in the mix. Makes them look active. Makes other teams react. And, if they aren’t interested, it wouldn’t bother them in the least if the price goes up for some transaction.
This isn’t to say that the Patriots aren’t interested in Rosen at all and that Klatt’s info is wrong. Or to assert that Drew Rosenhaus was fibbing to Antonio Brown that the Patriots were in the mix to deal for Mr. Big Chest.
It’s just that, when the Patriots make a deal of great consequence, it drops from the sky with no advance notice.
Does it help former Patriots quarterback and current Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury to have it out there that the Patriots might be in the mix for Rosen? Absolutely. Does it help Rosenhaus -- who has always had a very good relationship with the Patriots -- to be able to report to Brown that New England’s sniffing around? 100 percent.
Does either nugget hurt New England? No.
The fact is, the Patriots are truly in on everyone. They are one of the most active teams in the NFL in terms of trades and -- between Belichick and Nick Caserio -- they don’t sleep on acquisition opportunities ever. They pick up the phone and make the damn call if only to gauge the landscape.
Just today, old friend Mike Giardi reported:
According to a league source, the #Patriots inquired about just about every available wide receiver - and some not available - over the last month, from Antonio Brown to Odell to the assortment of free agents they've missed on.— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 27, 2019
If they wind up being a stalking horse instead of a real suitor, who cares? But when the Patriots are truly trying to add someone, whether it be Randy Moss or Michael Bennett or Trent Brown, you don’t really hear about it in advance.
Consider the comment by Jon Gruden at the coaches breakfast this week when asked about the Patriots dealing for Trent Brown last offseason.
"I liked Trent Brown when he was a 49er,” Gruden said according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe. “I did not know he was on the trade market. Trent didn’t even know he was on the trade market. No one knew he was on the market except the Patriots and [49ers coach Kyle] Shanahan, probably."
That’s the way they like it.
As to adding Rosen, it makes perfect sense. The Patriots have a very old but very talented quarterback and a savvy and old backup who’s got some limitations. You can see the finish line for both Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer from here. Rosen was a top-10 pick a season ago, he played for an awful team and the Patriots won’t likely have many chances to get top-10 quarterback talents while they are still on their rookie contract. They have every reason to call the Cardinals on this.
They also have some other significant spots to address in the draft, so if Arizona intends to draft Kyler Murray and wants a first-rounder for Rosen -- who would be just watching for a spell in New England -- that would be a move that probably wouldn’t come down too far in advance of the draft.
Meanwhile, with the Cardinals letting it get out that they are inclined to take Murray, the cost for Rosen is only going to go down over the coming weeks. It will get real low once they draft Murray.
So should we keep an eye on the Patriots dealing for Josh Rosen? Yes. Should we hold our breath? No.
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