If the New England Patriots are interested in trading up to the No. 4 spot, the price might be pretty steep, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
The NFL insider used Jimmy Johnson’s old draft-pick-value system to take his best guess at what the Patriots would have to give up if they want to move from the No. 15 spot up to No. 4 where the Atlanta Falcons are currently.
The Falcons’ pick, on the old Jimmy Johnson draft value chart, is worth 1,800 points. The Patriots are sitting at 15th, and that one’s 1,050 points. Generally, you’d value a future first at a little less than the middle-of-the-round pick. A middle-of-the-first-round pick equals 975 points, which would get you well past 1,800. Thing is, if you think the Patriots are going to be good next year—and we have two decades of evidence showing Bill Belichick is plenty capable of making that happen—then you aren’t going to value the pick like that. So, let’s say you’d value the Patriots’ 2022 first-round pick as the 28th selection. That one’s worth 660 points, and 1,050 plus 660 is 1,710. To that, add the Patriots’ two fourth-round picks, which are worth 54 and 50 points, and you’re there.
Here’s how the trade would shake out for the Patriots and Falcons if the value for picks holds close to the age-old system.
The Patriots would get the Falcons’ No. 4 pick overall, and Atlanta would get the Patriots’ 15th selection, the 120th and 122nd pick, and New England’s first-round selection in 2022.
Even that could change if other teams are included in the bidding war for the pick. Teams like the Denver Broncos, who might also be interested, have a higher first-round pick, so they may be able to get a deal done with the Falcons for fewer picks because their current selection holds more value.
Is it Worth it to Trade So Many Draft Assets?
The Patriots aren’t the kind of team to trade up in the first round. Throughout Belichick’s tenure, which dates back to 2020, as Sports Illustrated’s Alain Poupart mentions, the Patriots have never traded up into the Top 10.
That said, New England hasn’t usually been as aggressive in free agency as they were this offseason, so perhaps Belichick is feeling a bit more adventurous than usual. Even still, giving up a first-rounder in 2022 along with two pretty high selections in the 2021 draft is a hefty price.
The only way to justify this kind of move is if the Patriots are sure the player they select at No. 4 is destined to be a franchise quarterback.
Other QB Options That Could Come Later in the Draft
Believe it or not, the Patriots don’t have to trade up to get one of the draft’s biggest names to solidify their QB position.
Here’s an unpopular opinion: Perhaps the second year with Cam Newton as a starter will be so good, the team is interested in re-signing him to another two-year deal that runs through the 2023 season.
That might sound far-fetched, but all it takes is for Newton to recapture the form he showed before catching COVID-19 in 2020 to get people talking about bringing him back for more years. The same thing happened last year.
If you’re hellbent on the Patriots getting a rookie quarterback on the roster, it is an intelligent strategy, but there are other options later in the draft. Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, Florida’s Kyle Trask, and Stanford’s Davis Mills should all be available on Day 2.
Best of all, selecting them won’t require the Patriots to trade assets from multiple drafts.
Mond, Mills, or Trask could learn under Newton for a year and potentially take over in 2022. That might be a much less painful path for the future of the franchise.