Hannable: Reasons why Patriots didn’t make deal at NFL trade deadline

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Photo credit Quinn Harris/USA Today Sports

Despite a great deal of buzz the last few days, the Patriots ultimately stood pat at this year’s trade deadline. 

It was the first time since 2014 the team did not make a deal at or near the deadline.

There certainly were a few positions worth upgrading — wide receiver, linebacker and running back — but there were reasons why deals were not made.

It wasn’t due to a lack of effort either, as the Patriots reportedly made an offer for Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas, but he was ultimately shipped to Houston for a fourth-rounder and a swap of seventh-rounders. The other receiver they were most connected to — Golden Tate — was dealt from Detroit to Philadelphia in exchange for a third-round pick.

Looking at what was given up to acquire those players, this didn’t make much sense for New England.

Thomas is a free agent after next season, but has a $14 million base salary in 2019, which the Patriots certainly would not go for, and Tate is a free agent after this season. Giving up high picks for essentially half of a season for a receiver that is 30 years old isn’t what the Patriots consider good value.

Also, consider how difficult it is for receivers to pick up the Patriots offense given how complex it is. With two games until the bye week, it seems likely if a new receiver was brought in, he wouldn’t be full-go until after the bye, which would be Week 12 — Nov. 25 at the Jets. And even then, it’s no guarantee a new player would be able to pick everything up and connect with Tom Brady. 

If the price was lower then sure, why not take a chance on a proven veteran, but half a season for a third or fourth-round pick? No thanks.

Then on the defensive side of the ball, which may have been the greatest need for the Patriots, only one player was moved Tuesday in Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler. New England really doesn’t need any more defensive ends and it doesn’t seem likely the Jaguars would want to help out one of their top competitors in the AFC.

Certainly the Patriots would have liked to add a linebacker, one of the positions it has had success with bringing in at deadlines in the past, but there just wasn’t a market for it. Teams that had linebackers worth trading for — Raiders and Cardinals — didn’t make any moves.

It’s pretty hard to make a trade when players aren’t available. Remember, it takes two teams to make a deal.

And then consider the 2019 draft. Maybe the Patriots didn’t want to part ways with their draft picks for next year. 

As of now, the Patriots have a first-round pick, two second-rounders, two third-rounders and a fourth-rounder. This sets them up very nicely to do a number of different things -- pretty much whatever they want.

After not selecting a quarterback until Danny Etling in the seventh round this year, next year may be the time to use one of their top picks on a quarterback. With as many picks in the first three rounds that they have, they have the ability to basically draft whatever quarterback they like best since they have the ammunition to move as high up in the draft as they want.

This may be the most important draft pick in the Bill Belichick era, so they want to make sure they do whatever they can in getting it right. Trading away a potential asset towards getting the next quarterback for a rental this season just doesn’t make sense.

At these times it’s important to look at team from a long-term point of view and not just the short-term. This is where Belichick’s experience comes in as it would be easy to go all in for this year and add multiple players with all of those draft picks, but then what would happen next offseason?

It’s easy to get frustrated by the lack of a move, but with a little perspective it seems to make sense.