, injuries, a suspension, and a retirement left the team thinner than desired – and potentially looking for additional reinforcements from the outside, at least until de-facto number one wideout Julian Edelman returns from his league-induced ban after the fourth regular season contest.While there will be plenty of options available once roster cutdowns start later this week, the Patriots could also look to acquire a wide receiver via trade. One of the names that is currently floating around is the Detroit Lions’ Golden Tate: Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss threw the veteran out there over the weekend while thinking about an imaginable trade that would also involve New England’s Malcom Brown and Elandon Roberts.Reiss noted that he is not aware of the Lions actually considering moving on from Tate, but his scenario received a noticeable boost yesterday when former Patriots staffer Mike Lombardi tweeted about it (slightly altered from Twitter-speak for readability): “Golden Tate is in the last year of his deal – and Mike Reiss does not throw stuff off the wall. It makes sense to target him; reasonable price and fits their offense to a tee.”Lombardi spent two seasons with the Patriots in 2014 and 2015, and served as an assistant to the coaching staff. His relationship with New England head coach Bill Belichick goes back farther than that, however, as he also worked under the future Hall of Famer when he was still with the Cleveland Browns. Safe to say that Lombardi knows how Belichick works and which players could be possible targets for the team.Tate is one of them, it appears, and it would not be that big of a surprise to see the Patriots actually inquire about him. Not only does the team need more depth at wide receiver, it also has a good relationship with Detroit’s front office: head coach Matt Patricia served as New England’s defensive coordinator from 2012 to 2017, while general manager Bob Quinn worked his way up the team’s scouting department from 2000 to 2015.The line of communication between Foxboro and Detroit therefore is an established and open one. Furthermore, both organizations are run on the same basic principles in terms of their schemes and their value-based approaches to business. Because of that, a trade involving Tate could quickly evolve from a theory to an openly discussed reality. But what would its implications be from New England’s perspective?Above all else, the Patriots would add an experienced, durable and proven fourth option alongside their current top three wide receivers Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson. Over his four years with the Lions, Tate did not miss a single game and as the team’s number two option at the position averaged 93 catches for 1,056 yards and five touchdowns – all while also serving as a part-time punt returner.Why would Detroit part ways with such a productive player? His financials and long-term outlook could be the reasons behind the Lions’ theoretical decision to move on from Tate. The 30-year old, who will hit the team’s salary cap with $9.35 million this year, is scheduled to enter unrestricted free agency next season. The team might therefore be willing to already hand over the keys to last year’s third-round draft pick Kenny Golladay.While those factors would not make Tate expendable in 2018, they could come into play if a team like New England called to ask for a trade. How would such a trade look like? That’s the question, but Reiss’ idea of moving defensive tackle Malcom Brown – a productive but one-dimensional former first-round pick that is entering the final year of his rookie deal – and linebacker Elandon Roberts seems to be a plausible one.After all, both were drafted when Patricia was still the Patriots’ defensive coordinator and are expected to be natural fits in Detroit – the team will run the same basic scheme as New England under new coordinator Paul Pasqualoni. Both Brown and Roberts have worked well and a lot in this scheme since joining the Patriots in 2015 and 2016, respectively, but still have room for additional growth. A change of scenery could spark this.And while there are no indications yet that New England would be willing to move on from the two youngsters, seeing a trade like this unfold would not be out of the ordinary: the team has traded starting-caliber players entering the final years of their contracts before (see: Chandler Jones, 2016), and also has moved on from seemingly valuable rotational pieces in the past (see: Jacoby Brissett, 2017).With solid depth at both defensive tackle and to a lesser degree linebacker, and elsewhere on the roster if need be, New England should be able to handle the potential departures of Brown and/or Roberts. Judging by roster composition, trading one or multiple players for Golden Tate would therefore make sense from the Patriots’ perspective. The same goes for trading draft picks: with compensatory selection part of the equation (but not yet awarded), New England could have up to nine selections available next year.The framework for a trade would therefore look solid from both teams’ perspectives Youth Dont'a Hightower Jersey
, but there still appears to be one major issue: money. As noted above, Tate is scheduled to hit Detroit’s salary cap with $9.35 million this season – $7.0 million of which would transfer to the Patriots if a transaction actually took place. With New England currently only $9.53 million under the cap (via Miguel Benzan), adding Tate would put financial pressure on the team.For this to work, at least one of two scenarios would have to take place: either one or more players get moved off the Patriots’ books as part of the deal – Brown and Roberts, for example, would free up a combined $1.47 million under the current “rule of 51” –, or Tate immediately agrees to a contract extension that would lower his 2018 cap by converting parts of his $7.0 million salary into a signing bonus spread out over the length of the new contract.All in all, trading for Golden Tate would be an intriguing move by the Patriots – one that would add a legitimate receiving weapon to the current core of players. Whether or not it turns out to be more than a theory remains to be seen, though. However, it looks as if both Reiss and Lombardi can envision it taking place.Patriots vs. Panthers: Fan Notes from the Preseason So...how about that Week 3, eh?Not going to lie - I straight up fell asleep last night during the game. I watched the first half, then I figured I’d rest my eyes for a few minutes during halftime, and when I opened them up again Brian Hoyer was overthrowing Cordarrelle Patterson late in the fourth quarter. Now this is pathetic for two reasons. One, I should never fall asleep during a Pats game. And two, it was Friday night, pre-10PM, and I was out like a light. Getting old sucks.But the good news is it doesn’t seem like I missed anything at all. Of all the preseason games I’ve watched over the years, that one was undoubtedly one of the preseasoniest. So you’ll forgive me for putting as much effort into today’s Fan Notes as the Patriots put into last night’s matchup.Rob Gronkowski played, last night. Screw Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, and Malcolm Butler...that was the single most controversial coaching decision of Belichick’s career.The highlight of last night’s game was New England winning the coin toss and deferring for the third straight week. Not too shabby.The more I watch this defensive line, the more excited I get. There’s a lot of versatility, different body types, and each has his own unique skillset to bring to the table. If our D line was Tinder, there’d be something for everyone to swipe right on.That said...absolutely nobody could set the edge last night, from the starters all the way on down. Cam Newton represents a very unique quarterback challenge, but New England has a lot of mobile quarterbacks on the schedule this season, all of whom are very capable of rolling out.If any of you have experience coaching, I’d love to know: you’re a linebacker covering a back/fullback/tight end in the shallow middle zone. A quarterback rolls out of contain and starts to move upfield, with space in front of him. Is the right move abandoning your man and going for the QB, knowing full well he’s just going to lob it over your head and connect with the now open receiver you were supposed to be covering? I guess that makes sense, as it’s guaranteed rushing yards as opposed to a possible drop/another teammate picks up the slack. But man is that frustrating to watch.Glad to see Cam Newton still leading with his face. Diving headfirst into the ground is only a good idea..well, it’s never a good idea.There are still few things more intimidating than watching that blue tent engulf a key player on your team. Every time it happens, this is all I can think of.My personal highlight of the night? This was my last Zolak-called Patriots game. I get to watch the New York feed for the Giants game Youth Joe Thuney Jersey
, and as much as I can’t believe I’m saying it, Carl Banks is millions of times better than Zolak.Last thing I’ll say about him before moving on for good: I genuinely do appreciate him trying to keep it light, making some jokes, and finding ways to make a very boring game more interesting to the casual fan. But the reality is that if you’re watching a Patriots preseason game, especially the second half of one, you aren’t a casual fan. You’re a diehard fan. You’re interested in the guys on the back end of the roster fighting for a spot. You’re curious as to various combination and schemes and looking for some sleeper picks to make the team. So if we’re taking it seriously, you should as well.Carolina’s opening drive was exactly the kind of thing that ruined the Patriots early last season. The read-option gave this team a ton of trouble last year, and it gave them trouble last night. And, just like last season, it ended in a field goal instead of a TD.The good things about long scoring drives are a) it keeps the defense on the field for an extended period and thus represents a good test of fitness at this point in the preseason, and b) gives the coaching staff more film to go over next week.The bad thing about long scoring drives like that Panthers first one is is reminded me how glacially slow football games move now. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize/come to grips with this...but I was a sophomore in high school when most of New England’s 2018 draft picks were born. I guess I won’t be getting selected in a supplemental draft after all.Good for the Panthers fans for loudly booing Tommy B when he first came out. Hmmm...Cam Newton has all day to throw, Panthers receivers wide open, offense has no problem moving down the field. I feel like I’ve seen this Carolina/New England game before.New England’s second drive of the game, which stalled due to a stupid LaAdrian Waddle penalty, was what I believe will be how the Patriots will move the ball a lot this season. Runs to the outside, screens, short passes that rely on receivers to generate yards after the catch, and multilayers receiving routes that help to open up the middle of the field.And the legend of Ja’Whaun Bentley grows. What I like most about him is his lateral movement. Very quick to diagnose run vs. pass and react accordingly.I don’t think I saw any of those stupid helmet rule penalties before I fell asleep, which is nice.If this was the regular season, I’d watch the replay of this game and see what happened on A-gap runs that caused the back to get blown up two yards behind the line every single time. Runs up the middle are the beating heart of any playaction-based scheme. But since it’s preseason, who cares.Edelman looked like a 32 year old receiver coming off an AC injury who missed an entire season last night.Philip Dorsett, on the other hand, looked like he was drafted in the first round by a team that made it all the way to the AFC Finals!I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping that the whole Bud Light Dilly Dilly thing was kind of a 2017 fad...but I guess not.I’d also be lying if I said I thought that Will Tye has any real shot of making this squad.The highlight of Eric Decker’s night was late in the first half when he sprinted out into the huddle, but was promptly told to head back the way he came. For some reason, it gave me flashbacks to ever high school party I ever attended.Was Cyrus Jones always #41? I know that’s a question that can be answered in a Google search that would take less time than it takes me to write this sentence, but at this point Ive already written all these words and the longer this sentence goes on, the more I have to commit to writing it rather than do that Google search.I don’t know if it’s time to officially pull the plug on...oh who am I kidding. Yes I am. So long, Cyrus. Nobody makes the team just because they might possibly regain their value as a return man.So...Patterson is a roster lock, right? He just keeps playing deep into these preseason games, which has me worried that he’s going to be that surprise cut that nobody sees coming. The good news is that, if Patterson does get cut, there is plenty of wide receiver depth behind him so that it won’t be a problem.Beyond all this, the only think I can really remember from what little I saw of the second half was Hoyer looking a little sharper on his throws, and Riley McCarron having what looked like a nice day. Anything good happen with Ryan Izzo? I’ve always liked that kid.Just one more to go. Then we can all start to care again.
It is no secret: the New England Patriots currently have a shortage at the wide receiver position. A combination of offseason losses