Though it'll take some getting used to, New England Patriots fans are ready for the post-Bill Belichick era to commence. All eyes are on newly-hired head coach Jerod Mayor to see if he can turn the franchise around after the Pats missed out on three of the last four postseasons.
Expect to see a lot of activity this offseason as management tries to give Mayo the tools he needs to succeed. While certain areas of the Patriots roster look promising, others need improvement. Free agency and the NFL Draft can be used to improve those areas, as can the trade market — even if it's addition by subtraction.
When it comes to potential trades this offseason, don't be surprised if these three Patriots are moved in the coming months.
1. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
It's safe to say that the JuJu Smith-Schuster experiment didn't go as planned in 2023. Signed to improve a New England passing attack that ranked 20th in 2022, the former 27-year-old wideout had the opposite effect on the unit, finishing with just 260 receiving yards and one touchdown on 29 catches across 11 games.
You can blame injuries for Smith-Schuster's abysmal production, but that doesn't change that he was on pace for a career-worst 401 yards in 17 games. His 48.2 passer rating when targeted was also, by far, the worst of his six seasons.
To put things into perspective, Kansas City Chiefs backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert is the only one of 59 QBs to record a passer rating worse than that last season (31.3).
With a salary cap hit of $10.2 million in 2024, per Spotrac, it's understandable if the Patriots don't think Smith-Schuster's production matches that cost. Fortunately, they can save about $5 million in cap space if he's traded before June 1 or $7.6 million after that date.
There's bound to be at least one potential suitor who believes in a potential bounce-back campaign. After all, Smith-Schuster just racked up 900 receiving yards and won a Super Bowl two seasons ago, which might be enough for the Patriots to convince another team to take him.