We know the Patriots are light on receivers for 2019. We know it's an area they'll have to address however they can between now and September. We know the draft and free agency remain the most obvious options for Bill Belichick to do exactly that.
But we also know that Belichick is never afraid to talk trade. Would he be interested in diving into the mix if one of the game's most talented athletes -- one who's still under contract for several years -- became available on the trade market to help him fill a hole on his roster?
The Athletic's Jay Glazer, who remains one of the industry's most plugged-in news-breakers, suggested that type of player could be available this offseason.
"I predict," Glazer wrote, "Odell Beckham Jr. gets traded this offseason."
Beckham is one of the game's premier talents and only 26 years old. He's expressed his love for Tom Brady on social media many times, and the two have exchanged jerseys. "He's a great young player, and I love watching him," Brady said at the time. Belichick has praised Beckham's toughness, and . . . again . . . there's a need at that position in New England.
What would be the reason for hesitation on the Patriots' end if the Giants suddenly came calling, looking for -- spit-balling here -- a handful of high-end draft picks in exchange for the No. 1 receiver?
It's a long list.
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First, there's the money involved. Beckham has five years left on his deal and $45 million guaranteed. Not bad for a receiver of his caliber, considering the market at that position. But he'd be a $17 million cap hit in 2019, which is almost all the cap space the Patriots have available at the moment. Contract restructures and releases should free up more room, but the hit is what it is. Significant.
Then there's the fact that for a team that values character, there are persistent questions surrounding Beckham's. For a team that values silence, that's not exactly his thing. For a team that values dependability and performance under pressure, those aren't necessarily at the top of the list of Beckham's positive qualities. He's played 16 games in two years, and he's exhibited a tendency to flip out on inanimate objects when things aren't going his way. For a team that values hydration, he doesn't like water, and -- surprise! -- he's had cramping issues that have apparently frustrated his coaches.
The Patriots have certainly extended themselves before for players who don't mesh perfectly with the program, but none carried the kind of price tag -- both in terms of dollars and trade compensation -- that Beckham would.
Yes, Beckham would address a void on the Patriots roster. Yes, he'd provide Brady with an uber-talent to help the 41-year-old potentially maximize the last few years of his career. But considering the multi-year investment required to land him, and considering the potentially inescapable nature of the headache that would accompany him if things didn't work out, it'd be an unprecedented reach.
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