The NFL Draft countdown is on for the New England Patriots and 31 other teams. With talks swirling about the need for a QB, the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan proposed a huge trade that would position the team for one of the draft’s top signal-callers.
Callahan acknowledges the Patriots can go multiple routes with this year’s draft spot and their current assets. However, knowing that the option to trade up is a viable one, Callahan hatched an intriguing deal that would see the Patriots parting ways with former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore, and draft assets for the Atlanta Falcons’ No. 4 selection.
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The Patriots-Falcons Trade Proposal
Here’s a breakdown of the deal:
- The Patriots would receive: 4th overall pick from Atlanta
- The Falcons receive: the Patriots’ 15th overall pick, the 46th pick, a 2022 first-round selection, and Gilmore
That is a stiff price to pay for any player, even a potential franchise QB. Callahan explains why he believes the Patriots would have to part with so much to move up 11 spots.
“So what should it take to move up? More or less, what San Francisco surrendered.” Callahan refers to the trade the San Francisco 49ers swung with the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago that moved the former from the No. 12 pick to No. 3.
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In case you missed it, the 49ers sent the 12th pick, a 2022 third-rounder, and first-rounders from 2022 and 2023 to get into a position to take either Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or Mac Jones.
That deal positioned the Falcons in a spot where they could stay put and draft their QB of the future behind Matt Ryan. Take the best player available, probably Florida’s Kyle Pitts, or stockpile draft assets a veteran talent like Gilmore. Callahan is going with the latter approach in this scenario. He continued his explanation:
Any trade talks with the Falcons will begin with the baseline the 49ers established, though the math has changed on those negotiations. Because of the 49ers’ jump, only two of the five best quarterbacks will be available at No. 4, and the number of Atlanta’s potential trade partners has come down, with San Francisco and Carolina now out of the mix. Having lost that leverage, the Pats should be able to use Gilmore, their best trade chip, in a package of picks to successfully trade up, if they so desire. The only hurdle will be the Falcons fitting Gilmore’s $7.36 million cap hit on their crunched 2021 books and striking a long-term deal to secure him for years to come.
Is it Time to Part Ways With Stephon Gilmore?
The answer to that question is yes, but on two conditions. First, the Patriots would need to be setting themselves up to receive the kind of compensation that has long-lasting value. Acquiring their QB of the future would qualify.
Second, the team also needs to ensure they still have at least two viable starting cornerbacks. That’s where the prospects of trading an elite performer like Gilmore gets a little dicey for the Patriots.
J.C. Jackson has had two solid years for the Patriots. However, he seemed to struggle against No.1 receivers when Gilmore was out, and he’s a restricted free agent whose future with the team beyond this season is up in the air. Beyond him, there is Joejuan Williams and Myles Bryant, but most of the other corners don’t project as starting material.
The Patriots could look to sign Richard Sherman, which we mentioned in a previous article, or to the draft, but with the first-rounder and the No. 46 pick going to the Falcons in this scenario. It might be more challenging for the Patriots to find a corner ready to step in and fill the role.
New England’s roster is built to win now, despite what some will tell you about the quarterback situation with Cam Newton. If they play this thing correctly, they could remain very competitive while still setting themselves up for future success.