SNAP JUDGEMENTS: Trade targets for New England

Written by Mike Ciccketti

With the 2020 NFL trade deadline quickly approaching a week from today on November 3, the Patriots currently sit at a very disappointing 2-4 and are placed third in the AFC East. It is pretty clear that the Patriots are in dire need of more talent possibly on both sides of the ball and a change of scenery for some players around the league would be beneficial by joining New England. 

David Njoku will certainly bolster the lackluster tight end group
  1. David Njoku, TE, CLE

David Njoku has recently been linked to the Patriots after asking for a trade out of Cleveland. Njoku’s name came up in trade rumors during the 2020 draft and in July, he had requested a trade from the team. As of August, he decided to commit to the Browns and claimed he was “all in”. Less than three months after that, he soon realized that he probably won’t play as big of a part in the offense that he had thought. 

            Njoku, a twenty-four year old tight end in Cleveland showed flashes of being a top tight end in the league during his first two seasons in 2017 and 2018. In his first two years, Njoku was able to rack up 1,025 yards on 88 targets and 8 touchdowns. His 2019 season however played out differently. The former first rounder suffered a concussion during Week 2 and then was placed on IR for a broken wrist that he suffered on that same play. Njoku only saw action in four games last season with 41 yards and one touchdown on the season. This season, after being placed on IR with a knee injury, the big tight end was activated during the week five matchup vs the Colts. Njoku currently has 83 receiving yards and two touchdowns through four games this season. 

Some fans may be weary of taking him on due to his worrisome injury history and his up and down production. Although, due to the talent that Cleveland possesses in their offense, he quickly becomes an afterthought and gets overshadowed by Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper. With a lot of mouths to feed on Cleveland’s offense, Njoku’s stats on the year will not display his full potential. If he were to be brought into New England, he would see the field and be an immediate upgrade over any tight end currently on the Patriots’ roster. He could easily become a top target for Cam Newton and give the Patriots a much needed TE target. 

Cleveland already has Austin Hooper as their TE1 and on Sunday, we saw the emergence of rookie Harrison Bryant. As Cleveland shopped offers previously for  Njoku, that makes it clear that they will not be getting top dollar for him at this point. They should be willing to part ways with the young tight end for a third round pick, second round at most. 

THE TRADE OFFER:

NE trades: 3rd Round Pick

CLE trades: TE David Njoku

  • Ryan Kerrigan, DE, WAS

           A ton of New England fans are focusing on upgrading the offense and giving Cam more talented weapons and rightfully so. But, let’s not forget that the New England Patriots are currently the 17th ranked defense; which is middle of the pack in the NFL and a BIG difference when compared to last season when they had the first ranked defense in the league. Their issues come in the front seven of the defensive side of the ball. Five defensive starters from last season are currently not playing on the team this season. Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins signed with Detroit, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts acquired by Miami and Dont’a Hightower opting out for the season. Although we still have Lawrence Guy and the sizable jumps in talent and production from Chase Winovich and John Simon, we have one of the worst run defenses in the league. Out of the 32 teams in the league, the Patriots currently sit at the 27th ranked run defense giving up 132 rushing yards per game. It is clear that we need at least a Pro Bowl caliber player to help and can provide not only as a run stopper but also help with pass rush. This New England team ranks for the 4th worst when it comes to getting sacks on opposing QB’s. 

            With all these defensive struggles, Ryan Kerrigan is the type of player who can step in and immediately make an impact on this struggling defense. The four time pro-bowler is 32 years old in the final year of his contract with Washington and his name has been one of the most prominent this year when it comes to the trade deadline. The pass rusher averages ten sacks per season in his career and already has four on the year which is almost double the amount the Patriots leading sack getter has. Ryan Kerrigan is owed $6.8M for the rest of the season which seems like a steal for his production and how badly the Patriots need a player of his caliber. With the young guys stepping up for Washington’s defense, Ryan Kerrigan has only started one game this season and probably would not mind getting a starting job somewhere else; especially to be the top guy again. 

Ryan Kerrigan should be fairly easy to acquire. You could start off with a fifth rounder and even part with a fourth rounder depending on how New England wants to go about the rest of this season. Giving up a mid round pick to make a potential playoff push, this seems like a no brainer and is a low risk-high reward scenario for the Patriots. 

THE TRADE OFFER:

NE trades: 4th Round Pick

WAS trades: DE Ryan Kerrigan

  • AJ Green, WR, CIN

AJ Green is very comparable to David Njoku for the fact that he has been on the trade block before, and has been connected to the Patriots on multiple accounts. AJ Green to me, is the epitome of the “Patriot Way”. A high level player who keeps his head down and focuses on his work. He lets his numbers and play on the field do the talking. Green is 32 years old and is currently playing on a franchise tag worth about $18M. The veteran wide receiver is in his ninth season in the NFL and has six 1,000 yard seasons. Green only has 297 receiving yards this season but that would most certainly change if brought to the northeast. Cincinnati with a new coach, new QB and new roster all around, has young up-and-coming receiver targets that Burrow would rather target, especially rookie Tee Higgins. It has been rumored that Green is not happy in his situation and potentially wants a trade out of Cincy. 

            AJ Green in New England might make the most sense and would change the offense of this team tremendously and give the team exactly what they need… AN OUTSIDE THREAT. The Patriots three starting receivers are Edelman, Harry and Byrd. Edelman and Byrd are slot receivers and Harry, in his second season continues to struggle and cannot seem to create separation from top corners to make catches. Adding the seven time pro-bowler to this team would be a win-win situation. Not only does it add a true WR threat on the outside, but it also clears up Edelman. Edelman was most productive in the slot with a bigger threat with him, in this case being Gronkowski. Green being implemented into this team would put the opposing team’s CB2 on Edelman and his production should most certainly go back up. 

            Some might say giving up a second rounder is too much for a 32 year old player and a team potentially on the decline and maybe so. It all depends on how the Patriots want to go about the rest of this season. But, my response, if you give a second for Mohamed Sanu, AJ Green is definitely worth that. Knowing Belichick, he will not roll over and die especially when the Patriots can turn the season around and get right back into playoff contention.

THE TRADE OFFER:

NE trades: 2nd Round Pick

CIN trades: WR AJ Green

  • Everson Griffen, DE, DAL

We have already gone over why the Patriots need a pass rusher. Everson Griffen is a veteran defensive end in his eleventh season and may be the cheapest guy to acquire on this list. The vet is a four time pro bowler and has played a good majority of his career in Minnesota before signing with Dallas just this season for $6M on a one year deal.  The 32 year old has racked up 20 tackles and 2.5 sacks so far this year. Dallas has recently added Griffen’s name to the trade block in the last week.

            Ryan Kerrigan is the better option between the two and should be targeted to acquire before Griffen. Although, if Kerrigan is already traded or Washington wants too much for New England’s value, Everson Griffen is the guy to get.

            This trade should be fairly quick if the Patriots were to make a call, I see Dallas giving him up pretty easily for the best offer and I don’t see a team offering too much for him. Maybe a 4th or 5th at the very highest if there’s maybe a Super Bowl contender looking for pass rush help that really wants him.

THE TRADE OFFER:

NE trades: 6th Round Pick

DAL trades: DE Everson Griffen

(PLEASE READ)

All credit goes to Mike Ciccketti for this article. If you love what you read and if you love NFL content, consider listening to First and Goal: Dean Gridiron Talk. The show consists of myself (CJ Medeiros), Mike Ciccketti, Ben Pope, and CD Caraballo, and we break down some of the biggest games of the week, as well as some studs and duds, and more. We’re on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Anchor.fm, and Pocket Casts, check us out.

2 thoughts on “SNAP JUDGEMENTS: Trade targets for New England

  1. Nice article Mike! The injury history of players available for trade worry me. Pats need some talent- no doubt, but also remember we will be getting the “opt out” payers back next year. So making a trade or two now, combined with who we will be getting back, a decent draft pick and salary cap availability, we SHOULD be better next year. (fingers crossed)

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