Patriots

Patriots trade targets: Which wide receivers, tight ends could team pursue?

Patriots

According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, the New England Patriots are "sniffing around the trade market" for wide receivers and tight ends.

That report begs the question: What does the trade market look like for wide receivers and tight ends?

Breer joined NBC Sports Boston's "Boston Sports Tonight" on Monday to flesh out his report, as he and Patriots Insider Phil Perry broke down which teams the Patriots may deal with and which players might be available.

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"I think you start with the teams they trust, because that's who they're going to talk to initially," Breer said. " ... Places where they've got people they know in place."

For Breer, that list includes the Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions (all coached by former Patriots assistants) as well as the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose general managers, Thomas Dimitroff and Jason Licht, both used to work in New England's personnel department.

Breer then speculated a few names the Patriots could pursue if they're made available.

Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate
Breer: "Tampa has multiple tight ends and hasn't had great use of the position under Bruce Arians. I think Cameron Brate -- a local college guy having gone to Harvard -- would be an interesting name for them."

Brate, who caught 36 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns last season, is under contract through 2023 and will make a reasonable $6 million in 2020. He'd help New England fill a massive void at pass-catching tight end.

 

Rams wide receiver Robert Woods
Breer: "If he were to be made available, I think he'd be somebody who'd be of interest."

Woods has two more years remaining on his current deal and has topped 1,000 receiving yards in two straight seasons with Los Angeles. It's hard to see the Rams making him available, but perhaps they'll shake things up after a disappointing 9-7 campaign.

Texans wide receiver Will Fuller
Breer: "I think you at least put in the ask: Will Fuller is at the end of his rookie deal, he could be interesting and bring that speed element they've been missing."

Fuller has struggled with injuries but is a burner when healthy, with a career average of 14.3 yards per catch. Breer added the Patriots could "swing for the fences" and target DeAndre Hopkins, but Fuller and Hopkins may be their only options in Houston: Tight end Darren Fells reached an agreement with the Texans on Tuesday morning, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

Perry also threw out Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs and Cleveland Browns wideout Odell Beckham as two "A1" options for New England amid rumblings that both possibly could be trade targets this offseason.

"Are they available? We're not sure. Would they fit in this offense? 100 percent," Perry added. "They would also double up and serve as an enticement for Tom Brady to come back and re-sign with the Patriots."

We're still in the speculation phase of the offseason: We still don't know where Brady will sign in free agency and which players are clear trade targets.

But there certainly are names on the board if the Patriots want to do a little "sniffing."

Check out Breer and Perry's full discussion in the video player above.