A number of players have been linked to the Patriots in recent trade rumors, and at this stage of the season it's clear that New England is a very good team that would make the leap to great with a few key additions. Injuries have seriously limited Tom Brady's options on offense, and while several players will be returning from injury soon, there are still gaps that could be filled with the right additions to the squad.
Let's take a look at the latest rumors, and grade how likely each player is to make a move to New England before the trade deadline on October 29th.
This isn't anything new - we first discussed news of the Patriots' interest in Nicks back on October 9th. The Giants are clearly going into rebuilding mode, and while they've publicly maintained that Nicks and Victor Cruz aren't on the trading block, we can confidently report that both would be allowed to leave if the right offer came in.
Teams have been sniffing around the two players, and given how abysmal New York has looked on the field (and the fact that a ready-made replacement has emerged in Reuben Randle), we'd be shocked if both Nicks and Cruz were both on the roster on Halloween.
While the Patriots trading for Nicks isn't by any means a sure thing, we've heard they're much more likely to pursue Nicks than Cruz, and Patriots brass is carefully monitoring New York's situation. If the Patriots believe Nicks is available for a "fair" price (probably an early-round draft pick, possibly a collection of picks), they'll make a move.
Poor Larry. One of the NFL's premier receivers hasn't had a halfway-decent QB to throw his way since Kurt Warner retired, and the rapidly-decomposing Carson Palmer might actually be a downgrade from the Matt Leinart/John Skelton setup he was dealing with before.
Arizona is a team that's currently stuck in neutral. They aren't bad enough for a high draft pick, and they aren't good enough to actually contend with San Francisco or Seattle in the NFC West. They're going to enter rebuilding mode sooner rather than later, and selling off a rapidly-ticking asset like Fitzgerald should be one of their first moves when they do.
There hasn't been any indication that Arizona is ready to sell yet, so this isn't a likely scenario, but we've heard rumblings that if they're 3-5 when the trade deadline rolls around, they could test the water and see what they could get for Fitzgerald. If that happens, there's no doubt New England will be willing to table an offer.
Amidst in the tragi-comedy that is the Jaguars season, MJD is having by far the worst year of his career. His 3 yards per carry average is by far his lowest, and at 28, his days as an elite running back are numbered.
Still, many of his problems this season can be traced back to Jacksonville's amateur-hour run blocking and the general sense of despair permeating through the Jaguars organization. It was just two years ago that Jones-Drew racked up 1,606 rushing yards and 8 TDs, and the Patriots are badly in need of a player who can move the chains.
Jacksonville has been coy about the idea of trading Jones-Drew, and it's pretty clear that they wouldn't get much in return (a third- or fourth- round draft pick is the best they can hope for). If New England is willing to pony up more than that, they could realistically land MJD.
So, nothing is imminent-yet. All three players could move before the deadline, and if that happens the Patriots will be in the mix for each one. Jones-Drew is the most likely option, but Nicks and Fitzgerald could both move if circumstances line up, and every one of these players would be happy to go from a team that's down in the dumps to a perennial contender. We're willing to say this much - from what we've heard, we're confident that after deadline day rolls around, one of these three players will be a Patriot.
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