The New England Patriots might be one of the most fascinating teams to watch as the Oct. 31 NFL trade deadline approaches.
They are 1-5 for the first time since 1995 and appear headed for a rebuild, or at least a bit of a re-tool, in the offseason. It makes tons of sense to trade away any players who don't fit the team's long-term plans, especially veterans in the final year of their contract who can leave in free agency next March.
What is the Patriots' plan entering the trade deadline?
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Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald reported Sunday "the Patriots are willing to listen to offers ahead of the trade deadline."
“Given where we are, if I’m another team, I’d be calling on the availability of all of our upcoming free agents,” a source told Kyed.
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Some of the most notable upcoming free agents on the Patriots' roster are wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, safety Kyle Dugger and pass rusher Josh Uche.
Bourne is the Patriots' best wideout and someone who could help a contending team in need of depth at that position. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported earlier this week that the Colts, Packers, Panthers and Chiefs "have at least monitored the receiver market in recent weeks."
What kind of value does Bourne have on the trade market?
"One source believed Bourne could be worth as much as a third-round pick," Kyed reported. "Most other sources placed his value around the fifth or sixth rounds."
A Bourne trade could open up more opportunities for rookie wide receivers Demario "Pop" Douglas and Kayshon Boutte. Tyquan Thornton could see an increased role, too.
Being sellers at the trade deadline isn't easy, and it wasn't the desired scenario before the season. But the reality is the 2023 season is a lost cause for the Patriots. The focus should be stockpiling players and draft picks that can be used to build the next contending roster in New England.