New England Patriots: Standing pat at the trade deadline was a mistake

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots did nothing at the trade deadline to improve their prospects. It says here that could end up being a fatal mistake for this team.

Why, in the face of the Patriots now making a serious bid to actually turn what looked to be a moribund season into something, did they do nothing to improve their team at the trade deadline?

Let’s just say it’s more of the same old incomprehensible personnel decision-making that this team has been known for and plagued by for oh, two decades or so now (and more).

New England Patriots standing pat is baffling

OK, here’s an NFL team, the New England Patriots that had positioned itself to possibly both make the NFL playoffs and, with a key addition or two, maybe even advance therein.

So what does this group do? Nothing. Zilch. They stand pat and hope for the best while other teams like the Los Angeles Rams make bold and impressive moves to improve.

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This team had a very solid free agency this offseason. Matt Judon is spectacular, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith very good, yet, the rest, not so much.

They also had an uncharacteristically good draft which could end up delivering two Pro-Bowl level players in Mac Jones and Christian Barmore.

After starting 2-4 on the season, they have won two in a row and have climbed out of the doldrums into playoff contention. Real playoff contention at 4-4. Hoorah!

But realistically, this team still has needs that they could have filled. First, they still lack a true number one receiver. He’s not now on the team.

Then without knowing what Trent Brown’s situation really is, they probably could have used a solid backup offensive tackle.

In addition, some have argued that a defensive back, after the truly ludicrous “trade” of Stephon Gilmore for a bag of footballs, was also a necessity.

The New England Patriots had needs to fill before the trade deadline

The first need for a top wide receiver was a must. The need for a tackle may have been. The need for the defensive back can easily be seen as one as well.

So, what does this team do? Absolutely nothing? Zero. If it weren’t so obtuse a decision by Bill Belichick and anyone else who has a say in the Patriots’ personnel decision-making, it would be laughable.

They did nothing. Evidently, the powers that be in Foxborough think that they are perfectly poised for a deep playoff run and there is nothing that they need. Right.

Having as noted, finally been the beneficiaries of a good draft, does this cartel actually think they are draft gurus now? How did all the other picks make out? The answer, nothing there.

So, instead of going for the gusto, as they say, and using some picks for solid players now, this coterie sat perfectly still and let the football world just pass them by. Wonderful.

Anyone who thinks this Patriots team is perfectly constituted, please raise your hand? Didn’t think so. So why not make a move. A couple of moves?

The answer is the same one that has dogged this team for 20 years. They had the best quarterback in history and only a couple of years did they load up for him on offensive weapons. Foolish. He bailed them out year after year. Not the coaching.

And their drafts, well, let’s be kind and say, for the most part, were utterly forgettable. They can’t draft. Only this season with their top two picks did they actually hit paydirt.

All the more reason to go for the gold this season when in the standings they actually have a chance to get into the playoffs. And just maybe, if they had improved themselves, do some damage.

Instead, more of the same old hubris from an organization that still evidently doesn’t get it. Let’s say this, owner Mr. Robert Kraft stepped in after a lost 2020 season and put his foot down.

He made it clear both publicly and unequivocally, that he wanted the football operation to draft better and bring in a quarterback around whom to build. Amazingly, they did.

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Too bad Mr. Kraft didn’t step in before the just-concluded trade deadline and “suggest” to the football people that he wanted key additions to bolster the team.

Evidently, he didn’t or at least didn’t do so emphatically enough to garner even a token response from the football operatives.

So, the result is, they are what they are. Maybe they are good enough to be a playoff team. Let’s hope so. But to plug a hole or two before finding out would have made sense. Lots of sense.