Why Kraft should push Belichick to sell at the trade deadline originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The 2023 NFL trade deadline is right around the corner, and the New England Patriots are primed for a firesale.
Bill Belichick’s group enters Week 6 with a 1-5 record and three consecutive deflating losses. With tough matchups these next two weeks vs. Buffalo and Miami, there’s a strong chance they head into the Oct. 31 deadline at 1-7.
But even with the postseason out of reach, would Belichick actually throw in the towel and sell off his valuable players? Our Patriots insider Phil Perry shared his insight on the latest Next Pats Podcast, and Eric Eager of SumerSports joined the show to explain why it would be in New England’s best interest to blow it up.
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“What I’ve been told is that Bill Belichick is going to want to do what Bill Belichick does, which is win every time his team is on the field. So even though there’s a borderline mathematical impossibility that his team makes the postseason, he is going to try to win,” Perry said.
“Now, would he be willing to make a trade? What I’ve been told is, of course. But when it comes to trading impact players vs. players who are maybe in some ways already one foot out the door, the dealing of the impact player is something that he is not going to be all that fond of. It’s what I’ve been told. Whether he actually does it, we’ll see. Maybe he decides, ‘I have to swallow hard here, I have to think about the future of the organization as long as I’m in this position.'”
Eager believes the key to the Patriots turning things around is replacing Mac Jones with “high-end quarterback play.” Of course, that’s easier said than done and is unlikely to happen at the trade deadline.
But as Eager points out, the Pats can still pursue trades that will make them better in the long run and set up next year’s QB — who could arrive via the 2024 NFL Draft — for success.
“You got into this mess because you lack high-end quarterback play. You’re only going to get out of this mess if you acquire high-end quarterback play,” Eager said. “So, I think you have to look at a team like Kansas City, and you have to say, ‘Look, do you want JuJu Smith-Schuster back? Do you want a guy like Kendrick Bourne?’ I know their contracts aren’t necessarily easy to trade. There’s a lot of pass-rush talent in the NFL right now, there’s also contending teams that could use a Josh Uche. There are teams that could use a guy like Jabrill Peppers.
“So I would be a seller, but I know that there’s a lot of pride and I know that’s a tough admission. But when you look at the path to the playoffs in the AFC, your own division has two teams that are probably going to contend for the Super Bowl in the Dolphins and the Bills. And a team in the Jets that, you had their number with one win, but that team is probably better than you are right now. So, I think this mess was gotten into because of a lack of high-end quarterback play. I think the only way to get out and to get out fast is to acquire high-end quarterback play. That’s not really going to happen this time of year, it’s going to happen next April (in the NFL Draft). And so, I think you need to build a war chest for next April.”
Also in the episode:
Let’s talk compensatory draft pick formula!
Interview with Eric Eager.
Where did the Patriots go wrong in their roster building?