Zolak & Bertrand

Breer: Pats ‘came close' to trading Josh Uche to this NFC team

The Patriots ultimately stood pat at the trade deadline.

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The New England Patriots stayed quiet at the 2023 NFL trade deadline, but it wasn't for a lack of trying to get a deal done.

Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer revealed on Thursday that the Patriots nearly traded linebacker Josh Uche, who's an impending free agent, to the Seattle Seahawks.

"They came close at one point to dealing Josh Uche to Seattle," Breer said Thursday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Zolak & Bertrand. "I think a player would have come back in that deal.

"I think one thing that complicated things for Seattle a little bit was one of their edge rushers (Uchenna) Nwosu got hurt. And so, I think there would have been an edge rusher coming back in the deal, and it would've been complicated for Seattle because now you're losing Nwosu and you're having another guy go out the door, and now you're trying to teach a new guy how to play."

Bill Belichick and the personnel department ultimately chose not to trade any of their potential trade chips for late-round draft selections. Breer believes that was a mistake, because acquiring picks would have given the Patriots ammo to move up in the 2024 draft if they so desired.

"I think a pick might have come back with him," Breer added. "I think ultimately, what this boiled down to in the end was the value out there wasn't where they needed it to be. And I don't know that they were going to move people for fifth and sixth and seventh-round picks.

"Now, my argument against that. Say there's a receiver or a tackle or a quarterback that you really like and you're picking seventh. And now you want to move up, and the price to move up two spots is a third and a fifth. So if you trade up then, now you're going to have a five-man draft class. Because now, you're taking those two picks out and now all of a sudden it's, 'OK, we did what we needed to do to move up, but those back-end players we could've had are not there. If you're looking to rebuild, where having those extra back-end picks helps is it allows you to move around and keep your draft class full. That's what (Eagles general manager) Howie Roseman in Philly is a master of. They go into the draft with like, 10, 12 picks every year. It's like, 'Oh yeah, if we move around, we're still gonna have nine guys.'"

Breer states the Patriots would have been better off getting something in return for Uche since it's unlikely he'll re-sign with the club this offseason.

"In this case, you're giving up 10 games of a player in a season that doesn't matter," he said. "For you to get that extra flexibility, in other words, you're giving up 10 games of Josh Uche, who's probably not going to be back next year anyway."

Outside of Uche, the Patriots didn't have many trade chips at their disposal. Safety Kyle Dugger was another possible candidate, but perhaps their most valuable piece -- wide receiver Kendrick Bourne -- tore his ACL two days before the deadline. As for Mac Jones, New England reportedly didn't receive any calls inquiring about the third-year quarterback's availability.

You can watch the entire "Zolak & Bertrand" segment with Breer below:

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