Assessing whether the New England Patriots are buyers or sellers

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Sitting at 2-4 after six games with some tough games ahead, it’s fair to wonder whether or not the New England Patriots should be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline this season.

After a very tough, heartbreaking overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6, is it realistic to think the 2021 Patriots team is a serious Wild Card contender?

The NFL trade deadline is in two weeks on November second. Despite their sub .500 record, the Patriots are just a game out of a wild card spot, although there are quite a few teams that sit ahead of them with a 3-3 record.

With the deadline fast approaching, and the team’s season still somewhat in the balance, the front office is going to have to decide soon whether they want to buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

Should the New England Patriots be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?

The case for them being sellers

Let’s explore why the New England Patriots should be sellers. First, there are 10 teams ahead of the Patriots at this time in the standings. Seven will make the playoffs.

While the Patriots have battled hard in their first six games, they haven’t had that extra oomph to pull out close games. If they had, they would be 5-1 or at worst 4-2.

That would put them right smack dab in the wild card race or better. But, they aren’t. It’s time to face facts; it’s a long shot at best for them to make the playoffs.

It would take a dramatic turnaround on defense, which is their main problem. They can’t make the big plays we all expected them to be able to make coming into the season. And they still aren’t sacking the quarterback enough.

Players we thought would make a difference simply haven’t. These include some old favorites who aren’t getting the job done. Trading Stephon Gilmore also isn’t helping at all.

Another reason to sell is that trade deadline time is an opportunity to load up on draft picks for the future by getting rid of some of your unessential pieces.

The Patriots’ poor draft history notwithstanding, they did better in 2021, and with more picks, there are theoretically at least more opportunities to hit on their picks.

Hopefully, team owner Robert Kraft will again step in to “encourage” them to do better. It worked this year with Mac Jones excelling and Christian Barmore looking like a potential solid addition.

And a final reason, they would be able to unload big contracts for those picks. This frees up cap space to add more quality free agents like Matt Judon and Hunter Henry next year in free agency.

The case for them being buyers/standing pat

The only way the Patriots should be buyers at the trade deadline is if they actually feel they can rebound and maybe win eight to 10 of their last 11 games. Otherwise, it’s a fool’s errand.

Should they actually believe that standing pat is no answer at all. They must be buyers. That’s going to cost draft picks. They need an offensive tackle.

Equally importantly, they need a number one wide receiver. That’s going to cost perhaps a first round draft pick and more. But if they feel they have a chance, they need to ante up, but not for a rental unless the price is lower.

Getting a top receiver is a plus if that person will remain on board next season and beyond, even if they fail to make the playoffs. Then it makes good sense.

This team can’t draft wide receivers at all. They hardly try anymore which at least is a realistic acknowledgment. So giving up a first for a top guy helps them in two ways.

First, it bolsters their slim chances to gain a playoff spot this season. Simultaneously (again, unless it’s a rental in which case forget sending out a very high pick), it can help them in the future.

Buying is also a good idea to try to save the season after spending $159M guaranteed of the owner’s money in free agency. Sort of a last gasp effort to try to salvage the owner’s goodwill.

The Patriots play the New York Jets at home next week. A loss will be a fifth straight home loss and end the season right then and there. They then have to sell. A win makes the decision a bit more difficult.

The moral victories are no longer enough for the Patriots. dark. Next

If they beat the Jets, they have to then evaluate the standings and make a rational decision about whether they have a legitimate chance to win a wild card spot. If so, they must buy.

The Patriots’ chances realistically to make the playoffs after a 2-4 start are slim. A win next week makes it more possible. The decision has to be made then to buy or sell.

What do you think the New England Patriots should do at the trade deadline?