The New England Patriots may have their most viable trade partner if they are interested in moving up to find their next franchise QB. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Carolina Panthers, who are sitting with the eighth pick, are having “conversations with other teams about potentially trading back in the draft.”
Carolina Panthers have had conversations with other teams about potentially trading back in the draft from pick No. 8, per source. There are all sorts of ongoing trade conversations between teams, let’s see what next week brings.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 20, 2021
That concept should light a fire under several QB-intrigued teams in the NFL, and that group would include the Patriots. New England currently has the No. 15 pick in the draft, and moving up seven spots is far more practical than leaping 11 to get to No. 4, where the Atlanta Falcons might also be willing to trade back.
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Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Bezan reminds us of a deal that happened just five years ago. It is very similar to what New England could be looking to do with the Panthers.
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In 2016 the 8th overall pick and the 176th picks were traded by the Titans to the Browns for the 15th overall pick, 76th and a 2017 second-round pick. https://t.co/QNM5n9ak6U
— Cap Space=$15,582,717 (@patscap) April 20, 2021
The Patriots don’t have a pick in the 70s, but they do have the 90th selection, which would hold less value. If that pick doesn’t get it done grouped with a second-rounder from 2022, the Patriots may have to throw in their 197th pick to compensate for third-rounder, which is 14 slots lower than the most recent comparable deal.
The Patriots Won’t Be Alone in Their Interests
The Washington Football Team (No. 19), Chicago Bears (No. 20), and even the Denver Broncos (No. 9) might be making a call to the Panthers about the No. 8 pick. WFT has an unsettled situation at quarterback. The team signed veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in the offseason, and they also have Taylor Heinicke as an option. Neither is viewed as a long-term solution at quarterback.
WFT could make an offer and engage the Patriots in a bidding war for the spot. Likewise, the Chicago Bears, who have the less-than-terrifying duo of Andy Dalton and Nick Foles at quarterback, might also look to move up to No. 8.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace’s jobs might be hanging by a thread. They need to show some progress quickly if they hope to be back with the team in 2022. Perhaps locking in a player like Justin Fields, Mac Jones, or Trey Lance would buy them more time.
The Broncos are just one spot lower, but they may need to play keep-away from other interested teams if they want one of those quarterbacks. Thus, they may need to make a move to ensure they get a crack at Jones, Lance, or Fields.
The closer we get to the draft, the more acceptable it seems for the Patriots to wait until the second or even third round to draft a quarterback. Taking signal-callers in the first round is far from a guaranteed ride to the Super Bowl.
Drafting a player like Kellen Mond or Davis Mills could still give New England a player to learn behind Cam Newton until they’re ready to start, perhaps in 2022. Going that route won’t cost the Patriots draft assets this season and the next.