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The NFL trade deadline is rapidly approaching and the New England Patriots may not be done wheeling and dealing.
This past week, the team acquired receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a second-round pick to bolster their receiving corps. Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, they shipped pass rusher Michael Bennett to the Dallas Cowboys for a late-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Moving forward, the team may still be looking to strengthen their core as they try to make it to the Super Bowl for a fourth consecutive year. And it seems that the team could be looking to add another pass catcher to their offense and they may have a particular interest in adding a tight end.
Right now, the Patriots have four tight ends on their roster, but only the 37-year-old Ben Watson and Eric Tomlinson are healthy. If Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse aren't close to returning, the team could look to find some extra depth or even an upgrade to one of the team's weakest positions. It's also worth noting that Izzo is surprisingly generating some trade buzz, so that remains something to keep an eye on.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Patriots are interested in Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard. Both would offer more upside than what the Patriots currently have and the 24-year-old former first-round pick Howard could really thrive in the Patriots' offense.
That said, it's unclear whether or not the Bengals or Bucs would be willing to give up their tight ends. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting that it would take at least a third-round pick for the Bengals to move on from Eifert, and it's fair to assume that the price for Howard -- who is five years younger than Eifert and has a less extensive injury history than Eifert -- would be higher.
The Patriots may also be among those interested in Falcons tight end Austin Hooper, a talented pass catcher on a team going nowhere. However, Rapoport is reporting that the Falcons are unlikely to trade him, so he would likely cost a king's ransom if the Patriots do end up targeting him. Perhaps if the Falcons do change course, dealing with a Patriots team that gave them an early pick for Sanu would appeal to them.
As for the wide receiver position, La Canfora is reporting that the Patriots could "take a run at" Bengals receiver A.J. Green before the deadline. The Bengals don't seem to want to trade Green, but perhaps if the Patriots offer up a first-round pick or more, that could entice them to give him up.
No matter what happens, it's worth noting that the Patriots are exploring ways to add to their stable of pass catchers before Tuesday's deadline. The only question now is about whether or not they'll find a willing trade partner in the next two days.
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