New England Patriots should look to turn excess players into draft capital

Chase Winovich #50 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Chase Winovich #50 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots have a couple of players on their roster that would profile as trade candidates this offseason who may be used to acquire additional draft picks since the team only possesses six as we speak.

The option to trade down or out of the first round also exists to garner more draft capital. The team has a lot of holes to fill and the draft is the most cost-effective way to start filling out some of the roster’s weaker spots.

Let’s take a look at several players on the Patriots roster who may find themselves getting shipped out of Foxboro in favor of some more draft picks.

New England Patriots trade candidates in the 2022 pre-draft period

As we will get to in a moment, there are a lot of rotation-level players the New England Patriots could look to move on from, but there is one star level player who could actually be moved during this time. That would be right guard, Shaq Mason. To be perfectly clear, Mason is a top performer. So why trade him?

The answer lies with the salary cap. Mason is due to count $10.15M on the salary cap for the 2022 season. suggests that he may be a candidate for being released or traded out of New England.

Here’s what they had to say,

"But he’s also in the fourth year of a five-year contract and would deliver the largest amount of cap savings if the Patriots let him go. Though New England likely won’t cut him and lose him for nothing this season, Mason could indeed have value as a trade chip. Plus, Onwenu or another veteran could slide in to replace Mason if he departed."

Guard is a position in which the Patriots can afford to trade an incumbent, especially if they end up re-signing the excellent Ted Karras in free agency. He can start at guard with nothing lost nothing lost in production compared to Mason.

Cutting Mason would save about $7M of his $10.15M cap hit. That’s significant. Conversely, Mason is too good a player to be just cast aside before his age 29 season. Trading Mason would save the same amount of money, and allow the Pats to recoup some of his lost value with draft picks (or a quality player) in return.

Say hello to Las Vegas Raiders new head coach Josh McDaniels. He may well want to add a smaller, but very effective, guard to augment the Raiders’ running game. The Patriots don’t necessarily need to offload Mason, but if they can fetch a high round pick in return for him, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to move on from him this offseason.

Other New England Patriots trade candidates

Other players who can get traded without losing much production include a favorite in this space from before the 2019 draft, Chase Winovich. Winovich had a great start to his time in New England, as he picked up 5.5 sacks in his rookie season, and some observers (hand raised high) felt that he was a breakout candidate in year two.

It didn’t happen, as he only managed to match his rookie season total of 5.5 sacks. Then in year three, he only played in 13 games and logged zero sacks and 11 total tackles. That’s big-time regression.

Yet the Raiders, or another club like the Detroit Lions (he played his college ball at Michigan) may be willing to part with a low-round pick in order to see if a change of scenery is just what he needs. If so, the Patriots should take the pick and run.

Other candidates for trade include backup tackles Justin Herron, Yodny Cajuste, and Yasir Durant. None showed very much last season. Though some observers like Herron, he’s not a starting-caliber NFL tackle. If any of them could bring back a late round pick (even if it comes in a future draft) it may be worth pulling the trigger .

Another trade candidate on offense might be veteran wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Signed to a nice contract last offseason as a free agent, he was a non-factor for the team with only 37 total catches. Getting any pick for Agholor would be nice, plus it would save nearly $10 million in cap space.

On defense, it’s possible that Dietrich Wise or Lawrence Guy may have a suitor or two. Both are decent players but nothing special. Any pick garnered for either would be a plus. Young linebackers Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings have been underwhelming so far too, although the front office may feel it’s too early to give up on them just yet.

Is Shaq Mason going to become a cap casualty for the Pats?. dark. Next

The point of these suggestions is that it’s time to part ways with players (aside from Mason and maybe Wise or Guy) who just haven’t lived up to expectations. Trading these guys while they still have value ensures the team will pick up some more draft capital, and create some salary cap space in the process.

Realistically, many of these players will not be traded or released. If that’s the case, New England Patriots fans should be prepared for more mediocrity, because there is plenty to go around on New England’s current roster.