New England Patriots may trade a running back for defensive help

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29: Dion Lewis
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29: Dion Lewis /

The New England Patriots head into their bye week with a 6-2 record, but they look like they should be even better. With the trade deadline on Tuesday, the Patriots could be aggressive.

Dion Lewis has emerged as the New England Patriots best running back over the last few weeks, but could he soon find himself on the move? I’m not so sure, but a lot of people agree he or another running back could be traded on Monday or Tuesday.

Lewis played 30 snaps on Sunday, the most of any Patriots running back, followed by Rex Burkhead (27), James White (20), and Mike Gillislee (13.) That marked the third week in a row that Dion Lewis was tied for or held the lead for snaps in a game. Mike Gillislee meanwhile, has really fallen off.

The experts from Pro Football Talk tweeted out after Sunday’s game that the Patriots would be willing to trade one of those four backs for some defensive help.

Right now, I could see all but James White being traded before the 4 PM deadline on Tuesday. While Lewis has emerged as the leader the last few weeks, White is still the clear favorite to remain longterm as he signed a new extension this offseason. The Patriots will likely aim to hold on to White, but every other running back should be on the table.  So, here are some trades that could work for the Patriots to improve their defense.

Acquiring Ziggy Ansah

This would be nice to have a pass rusher like Ansah in New England, but it’s too unrealistic. Even if the Patriots shed themselves of Gillislee’s contract here, Ansah is too expensive. The Patriots wouldn’t be able to add him without making another move. Also, I’m not so sure I would want Ansah on a rental for 8 regular season games and the playoffs. He’s in the last year of his contract with the Lions.

Ansah would surely play his heart out in New England to win a Super Bowl in a contract year, but who knows when he’d even get to play. Would New England put him on the field immediately in week 10, or would they wait for him to grasp the system?

A Patriots reunion

This option is more realistic for the New England Patriots, but I don’t believe Casillas is as valuable as Dion Lewis. This move would help both teams though. New York is clearly out of the playoff picture at 1-6, but they would still like to finish strong. Casillas’ familarity with New England and the coaching staff would help, but he’s not so much of a difference maker that he’s worth giving up Dion Lewis for.

Another Brown?

Bill Belichick loves to trade with the Cleveland Browns. In this deal he could send a big back to Cleveland in exchange for a pass rushing edge player that seems to have fallen out of favor. Orchard’s snaps have decreased with all of the young talen on the Browns line (mainly Myles Garrett). With Garrett out with a concusion, Orchard has played more, but he’s clearly not a part of the Browns future plans.

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The Bottom Line

I don’t think the New England Patriots will trade a running back at all this season. The four-headed power has been working so far, and as one player starts to dip another steps up. That pattern should continue for the rest of the season, so we will see production from the New England backfield no matter what. In terms of getting defensive help, the Patriots could look at remaining free agents like Akeem Ayers. He has already played with the Patriots and he knows the system, so he could be a cheap easy fix.