Patriots

NFL Rumors: Why the Patriots had to trade up for Josh Uche

NFL Rumors: Why the Patriots had to trade up for Josh Uche

The New England Patriots spent their first three picks in the 2020 NFL Draft on the defensive side of the ball. They notably nabbed Division II safety Kyle Dugger with their first pick in the draft at No. 37 overall, but they made another second-round pick as well.

With only a handful of picks left in Round 2, the Patriots traded up to select Michigan edge rusher Josh Uche. The hybrid linebacker/defensive end should have a chance to make an impact on the team's defense right away and will join 2019 third-round pick Chase Winovich, another Michigan man, on the edge.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

It wasn't a surprise to see the Patriots move up in the draft. After all, they had an abundance of picks on Days 2 and 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft. But there was a specific reason that the team decided to move up to the 60th pick to grab Uche, according to Andrew Callahan of The Boston Herald.

According to a league source, had the Patriots failed to trade up for Uche, he would have been taken by one of the teams that owned the next three picks after 60th overall; the Titans, Packers or Chiefs. Instead, late in the second round, the Pats shipped the 71st and 89th picks to Baltimore in exchange for No. 60 and a fourth-rounder.

That certainly explains why the Patriots felt the need to move up 11 spots. All of the three teams mentioned would've made sense as landing spots for Uche.

The Titans have a need for a potential long-term starter at rush linebacker across from former Boston College product Harold Landry. They signed Vic Beasley this offseason, but he has regressed since a 15.5-sack All-Pro campaign in 2016.

As for the Chiefs, Andy Reid loves to bolster the trenches and they still need a replacement for Justin Houston who was cut last offseason. The Chiefs have former Michigan pass rusher Frank Clark as their big name on the edge and spent a fifth-round pick on another Michigan edge player, Michael Danna. So, it stands to reason that they could've targeted Uche in the second round had he been available.

And finally, the Packers could've made sense for Uche as well. Preston and Za'Darius Smith are two solid starters, but the team doesn't have a lot of quality depth behind them after the departure of Kyler Fackrell in free agency. They spent a first-round pick in 2019 on Michigan's Rashan Gary -- another edge player -- so maybe they got a good look at Uche while scouting Gary and liked what they saw.

Listen and subscribe to Phil Perry's Next Pats Podcast: 

Either way, the point is moot since the Patriots traded up to get Uche. And from the description of Uche provided by his former defensive coordinator at Michigan, Don Brown, it sounds like he'll fit in very well with the Patriots.

"He’s a football junkie. He wanted to know everything he could possibly know," Brown said, per Callahan. "Our strength coach did a really good job developing his hand quickness, and really, I thought was instrumental in helping us out. But Josh, he’ll do exactly what you tell him to do … and you know, some pass rushers they think they can win it all. He’ll do exactly what he’s supposed to do."

So basically, Uche is athletic, absorbs a lot of information, and likes to do his job. Maybe that's why Bill Belichick fell in love with him and felt comfortable moving up to acquire his services.

During his final season at Michigan, Uche logged 33 tackles and 7.5 sacks for the Wolverines. The Patriots will hope that he can make an immediate impact as a pass rusher in a rotational capacity, much like Winovich did as a rookie in 2019 (26 tackles, 5.5 sacks).

Patriots fans will enjoy Cam Newton's Instagram video of workout with Mohamed Sanu

Patriots fans will enjoy Cam Newton's Instagram video of workout with Mohamed Sanu

Cam Newton is already hard at work preparing for the 2020 NFL season.

Newton and the New England Patriots reportedly have agreed to a one-year contract that could be worth as much as $7.5 million with incentives.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

The 31-year-old quarterback was on the free agent market for several months after being released by the Carolina Panthers in March. The whole league passed on him until the Patriots finally took the chance on signing him. Therefore, we should expect a highly motivated Newton entering the 2020 season. Not only does he want to prove his doubters wrong, a strong 2020 campaign would also give him a better chance to land a more lucrative contract next offseason.

Motivation was among the themes of Newton's latest Instagram video, which includes footage from his recent workout with Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu in Los Angeles. 

Check it out in the post below (WARNING: the video contains some NSFW language).

Newton is not guaranteed to win the starting quarterback job for the Patriots. He should receive tough competition from 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham, who impressed in last year's training camp and preseason.

It's still hard to bet against Newton, though. The former league MVP is clearly determined to show he's still one of the top 12 or 15 quarterbacks in pro football and get his career back on track.

This list of QBs with more guaranteed money than Cam Newton in 2020 is crazy

This list of QBs with more guaranteed money than Cam Newton in 2020 is crazy

The New England Patriots didn't have to make a huge financial commitment to add Cam Newton to their roster for the 2020 NFL season.

Newton and the Patriots reportedly have agreed to a one-year contract that could be worth up to $7.5 million. The veteran quarterback's contract has a $1.05 million base salary and up to $6.45 million in incentives, per reports. 

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

One of the most interesting parts of Newton's contract is his $550,000 in guaranteed money, which isn't a lot, to say the least. In fact, the list of quarterbacks with more guaranteed money in their contract for next season is pretty crazy.

Bleacher Report tweeted the following list Thursday:

There's a good chance none of the quarterbacks listed above will be their team's starter in Week 1. Almost all of them will be backups throughout 2020.

Perhaps the most intriguing name on the list is Jarrett Stidham, who was the favorite to replace Tom Brady as the Patriots' starting quarterback before Newton's arrival. Stidham still has a chance to win the starter job, but if Newton is healthy, it's hard to imagine the 31-year-old veteran losing that competition. 

Either way, the Patriots have not taken much of a risk by acquiring Newton. If he's healthy and plays well, his contract will be among the best values in the league. If it doesn't work out, the Patriots didn't sacrifice a lot of salary cap space to take the chance. It's the classic low-risk, high-reward scenario.

Listen and subscribe to Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: