The New England Patriots are in an interesting spot ahead of Tuesday's NFL trade deadline.
Do they stay the course and keep their most tradeable assets, including the veterans who can hit free agency next offseason, or do they start to tear down the roster a little bit and move some of these players for draft picks?
One player the Patriots have to make a decision on is safety Kyle Dugger -- one of their best homegrown players of the last five years. According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, the Patriots have been contacted by other teams inquiring about Dugger ahead of the trade deadline.
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"They've gotten calls on Dugger," Breer said on NBC Sports Boston's Sports Sunday. "The Dugger thing is really interesting to me, though, because if that's a guy you're not going to re-sign, and you are where you are (2-6 record), naturally if somebody is willing to give you something for him, he's a guy you trade away. But he can help (if he stays)."
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Dugger is one of the Patriots' best players, and that was evident in Sunday's Week 8 loss to the Miami Dolphins when he tallied nine tackles, one sack and one interception.
"Kyle had a lot of production yesterday," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said after the 31-17 defeat in Miami. "When Ja’Whaun (Bentley) went out, he took over the signal calling. So, he does a good job in that area. Kyle’s a smart kid that helps us in a lot of different ways. He’s a versatile player in the running game, passing game, kicking game. He had a productive day yesterday."
Dugger is still in his prime at 27 years old, and with Devin McCourty retired, the Patriots need a great player and leader at the safety position. He's young enough and talented enough to be a key part of the team's core for a long time.
But if the Patriots don't want to pay Dugger premium money in the offseason, it would make sense to explore trading him and getting some kind of asset like a draft pick in return.