Five Blockbuster Moves We’d Like To See Before NFL Trade Deadline

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Every now and again, the NFL trade deadline is good for a few stunners.

So, will we get that this year? We’re about to find out.

It’s unclear what the trade market will look like due to the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic. But if nothing else, some deals are sure to be made (bold take, we know).

With that in mind, we decided to come up with a few blockbusters. We’re not saying these are the most feasible, but rather some wild, league-altering moves that aren’t impossible, but we’d nevertheless enjoy seeing.

Patriots trade Stephon Gilmore to Cleveland Browns Although Bill Belichick insists he doesn’t know anything about the trade rumors surrounding the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, we’re going to assume it’s a “where there’s smoke there’s fire” situation.

The Browns have cap space and are awash with mid-round draft picks. People don’t seem to think the Patriots will be able to get a first-round pick for Gilmore, so maybe the Browns toss them, at the very least, a second-rounder as part of the package.

Cleveland is in a spot where it’s disappointed for so long, but now is in the thick of the AFC North race. The Browns could stand to upgrade in the secondary, so maybe they make a borderline crazy move to acquire an elite talent — even if his year has been underwhelming.

Washington Football Team trades Ryan Kerrigan to RavensThe Ravens need help on the edges, and Kerrigan appears to be the top edge rusher believed to be available.

Baltimore’s seemingly nonstop interest in Yannick Ngakoue (now of the Minnesota Vikings) seems to be them tipping its hand that edge is an area that is viewed as needing an upgrade. So if they no longer can get Ngakoue, why not get presumably the next-best option in Kerrigan?

Indianapolis Colts trade Jacoby Brissett to PatriotsWe told you we wanted to get nuts.

Brissett isn’t playing in Indianapolis after the acquisition of Phillip Rivers, making clear that the former is not viewed as a long-term fit with the Colts. The Patriots, meanwhile, seem unlikely to go into full tank mode so long as Bill Belichick is running the show.

Maybe what happens is the Patriots, uncertain about how reliable Cam Newton is, decide they want an upgrade from Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in the event they need to bench Newton. Brissett is familiar with the system and would probably come at a low cost, and would be a better option than both Stidham and Hoyer.

In this case, let’s say the Patriots swing a deal to land Brissett, they cut Hoyer and Brissett serves as a 1A option to Newton. Fun stuff.

Washington Football Team trades Dwayne Haskins to CowboysYes, the Cowboys are very bad. But we have a hard time believing a Jerry Jones-led operation is going to just curl up and die, even if it means making a move that isn’t exactly prudent in the long term.

Clearly, WFT and Haskins’ relationship is fractured, and Ron Rivera’s infatuation with Kyle Allen doesn’t lead anyone to believe Haskins has a future in Landover.

Even if Andy Dalton’s concussion doesn’t keep him out for a lengthy period of time, Haskins certainly would be an upgrade over Ben DiNucci. Haskins also is signed through 2022, so he would give Dallas a backup option if they re-sign Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton walks in free agency.

And, in the still-seemingly unlikely chance they cut ties with Prescott, the Cowboys would have a quarterback on the roster with starting experience.

Eagles trade Alshon Jeffery to PackersOf course, this would be unlikely because the Packers are averse to upgrading Aaron Rodgers’ weapons ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

But, let’s say they try to go all-in whilst their quarterback is in the middle of a heater of a season — all with a suspect receiving group — Jeffery makes a good bit of sense, even with concerns about his health.

However, because of Jeffery’s whopper of a contract, it probably will be a hurdle to make the money work. But if the Packers really think they can win this season (and they should), a receiving corps of Davante Adams, Jeffery, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard (when he’s off IR) would be, in a word, nice.

More NFL Trade Deadline:
Five Blockbuster Moves We’d Like To See Before NFL Trade Deadline

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NFL Rumors: Here’s The Latest On Stephon Gilmore’s Knee Injury

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Stephon Gilmore’s status for Sunday’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills is in question after the New England Patriots cornerback suffered a knee injury in practice Thursday.

Gilmore, who was listed as limited on the Patriots’ injury report, left practice early and underwent an MRI after he “tweaked his knee,” according to a report Friday from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.

The injury is considered minor, per Rapoport’s source, but it’s not yet clear whether Gilmore will play against the Bills.

“He has not been ruled out yet,” Rapoport tweeted.

#Patriots star CB Stephon Gilmore tweaked his knee and had an MRI after leaving practice early Thursday. Source said the injury was deemed minor. Though his status for Sunday is not fully clear, he has not been ruled out yet.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 30, 2020

Gilmore is New England’s No. 1 cornerback and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He’s played 98.7 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps this season and hasn’t missed a game since 2017, his first year with the team.

If Gilmore cannot go Sunday, J.C. Jackson, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones would become the Patriots’ top three corners against Josh Allen and the Bills’ explosive passing attack. Buffalo receiver Stefon Diggs ranks fifth in receiving yards (603) and tied for fourth in receptions (48) this season.

Jackson is Pro Football Focus’ third-highest graded cornerback this season. McCourty and Jones have rotated between corner and safety.

Gilmore, who was given a $5 million raise before the season, has been the subject of trade rumors as Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline approaches.

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Should Patriots Be Buyers, Sellers Or Neither At NFL Trade Deadline?

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Will the New England Patriots buy, sell or stand pat ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline?

That could depend on what happens Sunday.

The Patriots currently sit at 2-4, their worst start since 2001. They trail their Week 8 opponent, the 5-2 Buffalo Bills, by 2 1/2 games in the AFC East standings.

Beat the Bills this week, and New England would vault back into contention in this divisional race, which also features the 3-3 Miami Dolphins. Buffalo would be trending downward with three losses in four games, and Miami has a major question mark at quarterback as it integrates rookie Tua Tagovailoa.

In that scenario, it might make sense for a 3-4 Patriots team to acquire reinforcements at wide receiver, tight end, linebacker and/or defensive tackle for a playoff push. (They’re now especially thin at wideout with Julian Edelman sidelined for the foreseeable future.)

Lose, though, and the Patriots would be in danger of quickly falling out of postseason contention. They’d be 2-5, losers of four straight, 3 1/2 games back in the AFC East, and likely would need to win seven or eight of their final nine games to even earn a wild-card spot in the NFL’s expanded playoff structure.

Since 1990, no team that started 2-5 has advanced beyond the divisional round, and just 4.8 percent (seven of 146) have made the postseason.

At that point, the Patriots could look to flip some of their more valuable assets for draft picks. Reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore would be at the top of that list given his contract situation. Left guard Joe Thuney, who’s playing on the franchise tag, should draw interest from Super Bowl hopefuls, as well.

Albert Breer of The MMQB reported Thursday the Patriots will listen to offers on “almost anyone.”

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Is that an oversimplification — win and they’re buyers, lose and they’re sellers? Perhaps.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked Friday whether the outcome of Sunday’s game will impact how the team approaches the trade deadline.

“I don’t think so,” Belichick replied. I mean, ultimately, any decision we make would be to do what’s in the best interest of the team. … Whatever it was, we could take them into consideration and, in the end, do what’s best for the team. Whatever that is, I don’t know.”

Belichick later offered a bitingly sarcastic response when asked about the “talk radio fodder” surrounding the Patriots’ deadline plans.

“Yeah, well, I guess I’ll just put it nicely and pass on the opportunity to get involved in talk radio,” he said. “That’s really a tough one for me to say no to. But, I’m going to say no talk-radio questions. Thanks for asking, though. I appreciate the opportunity to get involved.”

It is important to note that trading a high-profile player wouldn’t necessarily mean the Patriots are punting on the season (see: Jamie Collins in 2016). The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting salary cap uncertainly also could complicate player movement in both directions.

But it’s not hyperbole to call this matchup in Buffalo a potential turning point for the Patriots franchise.

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Patriots-Bills Betting Preview: Trends, Props, Pick For Week 8 Game

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We have an AFC East showdown on our hands.

Unlike years past, though, it’s the Buffalo Bills who enter as the home favorite when the New England Patriots travel to Orchard Park on Sunday for a Week 8 clash at 1 p.m. ET.

The 5-2 Bills will look to build on their 2.5-game advantage in the division, fresh off an underwhelming eight-point win over the New York Jets. The Patriots enter after recording the franchise’s first three-game losing streak since 2002.

Here’s our betting preview for Patriots-Bills, with all odds/lines via consensus data.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-4)Total: 41

BETTING TRENDSThe Bills opened up as 3.5-point favorites before creeping up to four points, where the line currently stands.

It will be just the fourth time in 41 games the Bills are favored over Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, according to The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin. Four points is, however, the largest spread the Bills have possessed, surpassing a three-point spread from 2002 when the Patriots earned a 31-point victory. The Bills were also favored in 2003 (31-0 Buffalo win) and 2014 (37-22 Patriots win).

The Bills have lost each of the last seven games to the Patriots and nine of the last 10.

Both teams are among the worst in the league against the spread this season. Buffalo is 3-4 ATS overall, but 2-1 at home. The Patriots are 2-4 ATS overall and 0-2 on the road.

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PROPSFirst-half line, totalBills -2.5, 20.5

First touchdown scorerStefon Diggs +800Devin Singletary +800Josh Allen +900Cam Newton +900Damien Harris +1200Zack Moss +1200Cole Beasley +1400James White +1600Rex Burkhead +1800

Passing yardsJosh Allen over/under 238.5Cam Newton over/under 192.5

Rushing yardsDevin Singletary over/under 49.5Cam Newton over/under 46.5Josh Allen over/under 34.5

Receiving yardsStefon Diggs over/under 56.5Devin Singletary over/under 15.5

PICK: Patriots +4Based on how the Patriots have played over the last two weeks — losses to the Denver Broncos and a blowout loss to the injury-depleted 49ers — they shouldn’t instill much confidence for bettors. Recent injuries to receivers Julian Edelman (knee) and N’Keal Harry (concussion) have further complemented that outlook.

But the fact is the Bills haven’t been all that impressive of late either. After getting off to a 4-0 start, Buffalo was blown out by the Tennessee Titans and lost by two possessions to the Kansas City Chiefs. Four of their five wins this season have come against the 0-7 Jets (twice), a three-point win over the 3-3 Miami Dolphins and a touchdown win over the 3-3 Las Vegas Raiders.

And with the Patriots’ offensive line seemingly returning to strength, weather conditions looking brutal and the Bills among the bottom half of NFL teams in major run defense categories, we could be looking at a low scoring, grind-it-out game.

Look for the Patriots to cover.

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Joe Kelly Makes Interesting Concession About Dodgers-Rays Game 6

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The Los Angeles Dodgers sure seemed like a team of destiny this year.

But one of their relievers readily admitted that things were not trending in their favor Tuesday night.

In Game 6 of the World Series, Tampa Bay Rays starter Blake Snell was rolling until Kevin Cash’s inexplicable early hook. Upon getting into Tampa’s bullpen, the Dodgers turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 victory, claiming the World Series.

But in an appearance on WEEI’s “The Bradfo Sho” with Rob Bradford, Joe Kelly acknowledged that the Fall Classic probably was going to a Game 7 had Cash left Snell in.

“One hundred percent (we thought we were going to win after the pitching change),” Kelly said, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “That’s what everyone thought, that was the only way we were winning. And he got taken out and it turns into instant, ‘Oh, there is no way we lose now. They just did it for us’ type thing.”

Kelly in the moment didn’t try and hide the fact that he thought Cash was doing them a favor.

“I stood up on the top of the fence and was taking my hat off to give him a tip of the cap, a thank you, because the only way we were winning that game is if that happened,” the former Red Sox and current Dodgers reliever said. “So I was taking my hat off and screaming at the top of my lungs. We were all ecstatic. Every single person in that stadium knew. Kevin Cash got a standing ovation from the whole stadium.”

Cash has been near universally ripped for his decision, and that’s probably fair.

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Joe Kelly Makes Interesting Concession About Dodgers-Rays Game 6

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Bill Belichick Opens Up About Julian Edelman Injury, Hopes Receiver Can Return

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Bill Belichick rarely discusses player injuries.

But the New England Patriots coach did offer some additional details Friday on the status of wide receiver Julian Edelman, who underwent a procedure Thursday on his injured knee.

Belichick said he doesn’t believe the surgery will end Edelman’s season but cannot say for certain.

“We’ll see how the return goes,” Belichick said in a video conference. “I don’t think this is a season-ending situation, but we’ll see. I’m not a doctor. We’ll see how it goes here. Hopefully, he’ll be back. He’s worked awfully hard, and nobody’s more competitive than Julian is, so he’ll do everything he can to be back out there.

“We’ll just take it day by day, (follow) the process and see how it goes. Whatever opportunity that provides for somebody else and whoever that provides it for, then hopefully that player can take advantage of that opportunity and be productive. We’ll just have to see how that goes.”

Belichick was asked whether the team opted to have the surgery now in hopes of having Edelman back and healthy for the stretch run.

“That’s really a medical question that I don’t feel qualified to answer,” the coach replied. “I think medically, in consultation with the player and the medical staff, we always try to do what’s best. The player always tries to do what’s best. So whatever decisions are made, are made with those intentions. Whatever it ends up being, it ends up being. I don’t think we can control that.

“We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully, he’ll have a good recovery and be back better than where he was before the surgery. That’s the whole point of doing the surgery — that the situation will improve. So hopefully, it will improve.”

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Edelman, who underwent multiple offseason surgeries, has been visibly limited throughout this season, fully participating in just one practice and seeing a diminished snap count in the Patriots’ first six games.

The 34-year-old has played 68.1 percent of offensive snaps this season, down from 87 percent in 2019. Fellow wideouts Damiere Byrd (92.5 percent) and N’Keal Harry (71.2 percent) both have played more.

Edelman leads all Patriots players in receptions with 21 and receiving yards with 315, but much of that production came in New England’s Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks (eight catches, career-high 179 yards). Since then, he’s caught just eight passes on 21 targets for 79 yards with no touchdowns over four games.

“Julian always worked hard,” Belichick said. “He worked hard from the start of training camp. It’s been a process of his reacclimation here, like there is for everybody. The decision was just made at this point to take the steps that we’ve taken. Yeah, there’s no question about his work ethic. That’s pretty strong.”

With Harry still in concussion protocol as of Thursday, the Patriots likely will be without two of their top three receivers for Sunday’s must-win game against the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills. With no time to add outside help due to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, New England will rely on Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski and potentially one or more practice squad call-ups.

The Patriots currently have three receivers on their practice squad: undrafted rookies Isaiah Zuber, Kristian Wilkerson and Mason Kinsey. Zuber has been active for three games this season. Wilkerson and Kinsey have yet to make their NFL debuts.

Belichick said “there may be an opportunity here” for those young wideouts.

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What Is Patriots’ Salary Cap Situation Ahead Of NFL Trade Deadline?

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The New England Patriots are in an unusual position with the sixth-most salary cap space in the NFL.

Official cap space by team one week from the NFL trade deadline (1-11)1. CLE: 31,441,5032. NYJ: 27,318,1343. JAX: 26,157,8654. WAS: 23,661,9495. DAL: 23,578,8686. NE: 22,902,4867. PHI: 22,816,7908. DEN: 20,277,8799. DET: 17,698,57710. MIA: 16,587,91911. IND: 9,975,640— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 27, 2020

A reminder: The Patriots gained almost all of their $22.9 million in cap space this summer well after the initial waves of free agency through opt-outs and contract grievance settlements.

Another reminder: They can carry it over into the 2021 season when the salary cap is expected to be much lower due to money lost from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Patriots could open even more salary cap space by trading cornerback Stephon Gilmore (around $9.6 million, per @PatsCap) or guard Joe Thuney (about $8.7 million) before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.

Trading for a player like wide receiver Adam Thielen would eat up about $5.9 million in cap space. And while it would be extremely unlikely, acquiring wide receiver Julio Jones also would take up around $5.9 million in cap space.

The Patriots currently have $66,538,531 in cap space for the 2021 season, per OverTheCap.com.

So, they certainly have the money to wheel and deal before the trade deadline on Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. ET. They also have future cap space in case the player they’re acquiring is expensive in 2021 and beyond.

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Brandon Copeland Drops Comment On Patriots Instagram After Going On IR

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Brandon Copeland already is suffering from FOMO.

The New England Patriots linebacker was placed on injured reserve this week with a pectoral injury, which reportedly is season-ending. It’s a tough end for the first-year Patriots, who reacted to the injury with an optimistic tweet.

And on Thursday, the team shared some photos from practice.

View this post on Instagram One day at a time, rain or shine. A post shared by New England Patriots (@patriots) on Oct 29, 2020 at 12:21pm PDT

A pretty typical post, but it drew a comment from Copeland.

The 29-year-old is on a one-year deal with the Patriots, so this very well could be the end of his tenure with New England.

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Virgil Van Dijk Undergoes Successful Knee Surgery; Here Are Next Steps

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Virgil van Dijk has undergone surgery on the knee ligament injury he sustained earlier this month.

The Liverpool defender’s planned operation took place in London and was conducted successfully.

Van Dijk will now immediately focus on the beginning of his rehabilitation with the support of the Reds’ medical department.

No timeframe has been placed on the Dutchman’s return to action.

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Patrick Chung Emphatically Supports Cam Newton With NSFW Instagram Comment

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Cam Newton has been, well, bad lately, and he doesn’t need anyone to tell him that. He knows it.

But it doesn’t sound like he’s lost the locker room — even those who aren’t in it right now.

The New England Patriots quarterback, amid his struggles, pointed the finger at himself in his Thursday press conference. The team isolated that clip and posted it without a caption on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by New England Patriots (@patriots) on Oct 29, 2020 at 3:00pm PDT

That drew a great comment from Chung, who opted out of this season.

“At least you’re learning,” Chung responded. “Stop being Cam the man Newton. And play football. You can be unstoppable. Un-(expletive)-stoppable! You know that. I know that. The team knows that. Let’s go. Lead those men. I’ll see you in Tampa. I’m not a fan. I’m family. @cameron1newton.”

Newton and the Patriots will try to snap their three-game losing streak Sunday when they face the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills.

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