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NFL notes: 4 potential Patriots trades before cutdown day, including a blockbuster

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Like every other NFL team, the Patriots must trim their roster to 53 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m.

More than 1,000 players will be released in the coming days, and a few more should be traded. The Patriots have swung cutdown-day trades in the past, acquiring ex-Chiefs offensive tackle Yasir Durant two years ago for a seventh-round pick. Considering their O-line struggles this preseason, another deal could soon be in the works.

On that note, here are four trades to boost the Patriots’ current roster, including a blockbuster that would shake the league at large.

Hello, old friend

Patriots acquire: Falcons RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Patriots trade: RB Kevin Harris, 2024 seventh-round pick

Remember him?

Patterson left New England after winning a Super Bowl in his only season with the Patriots in 2018. Back then, the Pats became the first team to deploy Patterson at running back for entire games, beating Buffalo and Green Bay with him serving as an emergency starter. Nowadays, the Patriots are again running low on proven running backs and receiving talent.

Patterson addresses both roster holes.

Bashaud Breeland of the Green Bay Packers tries to stop New England's Cordarrelle Patterson during a Nov. 4, 2018 game in Foxboro. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/ Boston Herald)
Bashaud Breeland of the Green Bay Packers tries to stop New England’s Cordarrelle Patterson during a Nov. 4, 2018 game in Foxboro. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/ Boston Herald)

Last season in Atlanta, he started 11 games, rushing for a career-high 695 yards and eight touchdowns. Patterson also caught 52 passes for 548 yards the year before. Patterson is no longer one of the most dynamic athletes in the NFL, but should be more than serviceable for the Pats, who will likely ask a rookies to start the year as their No. 4 receiver and Ty Montgomery to be their third running back.

But Montgomery hasn’t topped 200 offensive yards in any season since 2018. Meanwhile, Patterson’s done that in five of the last six years.

For the Falcons, they sell high on a 32-year-old player entering a contract year whose career they successfully revived. They replace him with Harris, a young power back who’s shown no plus skills in the preseason besides his strength. He becomes their new No. 3 or 4 option, behind clear-cut lead backs Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier.

Boosting the O-line

Patriots acquire: Browns OT Tyrone Wheatley Jr.

Patriots trade: Conditional 2024 seventh-round pick

Cleveland Browns rookie Tyrone Wheatley performs a drill at the NFL football team's rookie minicamp in Berea, Ohio, Saturday, May 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
Cleveland Browns rookie Tyrone Wheatley performs a drill at the NFL football team’s rookie minicamp in Berea, Ohio, Saturday, May 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

The Patriots signed/re-signed three offensive tackles in the offseason: Riley Reiff, Calvin Anderson and Conor McDermott. Let’s review where they all stand with two weeks left until the opener.

Reiff is playing right guard and has for almost two weeks straight. He started training camp at right tackle, his projected starting spot, then McDermott replaced him after two days.

McDermott? He’s hurt. He didn’t practice last Thursday at Green Bay and missed both practices this week. The Pats, perhaps unfairly, threw him out at left tackle during the preseason opener after working him on the right side in camp, and his tape was predictably terrible.

A false start, run stuff allowed on the second drive alone. No one is signing him immediately to their 53-man roster if he’s cut.

Then, there’s Anderson. Hyper local man of mystery. He’s been stuck on the Non-Football Illness list for more than a month and hasn’t taken the field once. There have been breadcrumbs indicating Anderson might return soon, but he’ll need an extended ramp-up to catch teammates who have been practicing and conditioning at full speed for more than a month.

Having already missed on Cardinals swing tackle Josh Jones (traded Thursday to Houston), the Pats should call about Browns swing tackle James Hudson III. The former fourth-round pick has drawn rave reviews in his third season, but if Cleveland  says no, they settle for Wheatley. Hudson and Wheatley have impressed in the preseason and been schooled by the league’s best O-line coach in Bill Callahan. Capable offensive tackles are like pitching in baseball: even the best teams can’t have enough.

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Except if you’re facing a serious numbers crunch. In Cleveland, Wheatley is stuck behind starters Jedrick Willis, Jack Conklin, fourth-round rookie Dawand Jones and Hudson. Through two preseason games, he’s played 61 snaps at left tackle and 37 at right tackle, per Pro Football Focus. He staved off two of the best defensive lines in the league, Washington and Philadelphia, posting an elite 95.6 run-blocking grade and 97.6 pass-blocking efficiency, both metrics scored out of 100.

At worst, Wheatley would provide solid, ascending depth at positions of viral importance need for the Patriots. Mac Jones was pressured on more than 40% of his dropbacks – 40! – in last week’s exhibition at Green Bay. If the offensive line can’t trust fourth-round rookie Sidy Sow, a career college guard now playing right tackle, it’s in serious trouble.

The Patriots should patch their O-line by sending Cleveland their 2024 seventh-round pick that converts into one of the two sixth-rounders they own if Wheatley plays eight or more games.

Fortifying run defense

Patriots acquire: Raiders DT John Jenkins, 2024 seventh-round pick

Patriots trade: 2024 sixth-round pick

Last September, the Patriots shipped young offensive tackle Justin Herron to Las Vegas in a pick-swap trade.

Time for Josh McDaniels to return the favor.



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