To buy or not to buy, that is the question.
Borrowing a line from Shakespeare, it's worth wondering what the Patriots' strategy will be at the upcoming NFL trade deadline.
Has Bill Belichick seen enough from his team this season to deem that it's worth adding talent for the stretch run? Or has he really seen enough to know that it's time to see if he can ship any players elsewhere to build for the future beyond the 2020 season?
NBC Sports Boston Patriots reporter Phil Perry thinks New England's ugly loss to the 49ers might have an impact on Belichick's decision-making process, saying, "I think this game is a real wake-up call in terms of whether or not this team is actually going to be a competitor for the long haul here."
There's no question the Patriots were thoroughly overmatched in their 33-6 loss -- the worst home defeat in Belichick's tenure as head coach. New England turned the ball over four times and let Jimmy Garoppolo complete 80 percent of his passes in the rout.
The Patriots have now lost three straight games for the first time in 18 years and sit 2½ games behind next week's opponent, the first-place Bills, in third place in the AFC East. But is that enough for the Patriots to play an unfamiliar role at the trade deadline? Could they be sellers? Perry thinks it's on the table.
"I think you have to consider it. I mean, it was that ugly," he explained during Postgame Live Sunday evening. "If this had been a close loss, if they had shown really anything at all on either side of the ball, I think you could look at it and say, 'Well maybe it's salvageable. This is an offense that just really hit them where they were weakest defensively, and on offense, Cam is clearly dealing with something physically...'
"I don't think you can say any of that. I think you just have to look at this and say, 'Are they good enough to compete right now?' And I'm not sure how you could make a real convincing argument of that after what we saw tonight."
For more of Phil Perry's thoughts about the Patriots' thought process heading into the Nov. 3 trade deadline -- including what they might be looking for in exchange for one of their best defensive players -- check out the video player above.