FOXBORO - There’s no longer a cut down from 90 to 75 players, but there are plenty of ways for NFL teams to refine their rosters before they’re required to get down to 53.
Injuries happen. Releases happen. Trades happen, too. And trades will happen. And annually one of the most active teams on the trade market is the Patriots.
One of the challenges of finding a good trade is finding a good trade partner. That can be tough any time of year, including now, before the season, when every front office thinks it has a chance after an offseason spent roster building. But the overflow of players populating locker rooms at the moment, and the inevitability that many of them will be moving on in less than a month makes it a reasonable time to deal.
The Patriots could be active yet again late in the summer. This time last year, they traded for both Phillip Dorsett and Marquis Flowers late in the preseason.
Both came from AFC competitors, but that’s obviously not a prerequisite for a trade, Belichick explained on Wednesday.
“Yeah, well, there’s no question it’s always easier to talk to a team you’re not in direct competition with, either that’s not on your schedule, certainly not in your division,” he said. “But, if they’re not on your schedule or if they’re not in your conference, that makes it a lot easier.
“That doesn’t exclude other teams that maybe you’re in more direct competition with. Again, trades are theoretically maneuvers that will help both teams. When two teams make a trade, both teams think that they’re improving. That’s why they make it, right? So, if you can find a trade partner and you’re helping your team, then that’s usually a good thing. But, certainly, it’s a lot more common and easier to deal with teams that you’re not in direct competition with.”
It’s no surprise then that Belichick and the Patriots have been able to complete deals with NFC teams whose front offices they like, such as San Francisco or Detroit. And having relationships with front offices in Tampa and Tennessee doesn’t hurt either.
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So, if there’s a player who doesn’t fit the scheme in those spots, one the Patriots could envision a role for in New England, maybe one who’s in the last year of his contract, that could spark a conversation.
Still, if you had any designs on the Patriots somehow putting a package together to get the Jets to trade backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a few hundred miles north, don’t count on it.
“I mean, we have, I think, good relationships with really all the teams in the league,” Belichick said, “but we don’t do a lot of transactions with the ones in the AFC East. That’s pretty normal.”
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