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Ask PFW: Pat(s) Pete?

With the NFL trade deadline just a week away, plenty of trade questions and rumors fill out our latest edition of Ask PFW.


Although the Cardinals are saying they are not shopping Patrick Peterson, he has indicated he wants a trade. Given the Patriots draft picks in 2019, why isn't he already a Patriot? He's under contract for the next couple years so the Patriots would have a Gilmore/Peterson tandem for the foreseeable future. I'm sure Brady will restructure his contract yet again to add him to the team.

Jeff Scott

With Patrick Peterson asking to be traded do you think the Pats take a serious look at him? Gilmore and Peterson could be a nice duo.

Stacy Hanson

Reports have indicated that the Patriots are indeed interested in the All-Pro Arizona cornerback Peterson. But, that doesn't mean he'll be suiting up in New England. Other teams (Saints, Eagles) have reportedly shown interest and may be willing to offer more for the athletic cover guy who is still just 28 years old. The Saints may be out on Peterson, though, after trading for Giants cornerback Eli Apple. Beyond reaching a deal with Arizona, which could include a first-round pick and then some, there are the financial ramifications for the rest of this season and moving forward. Certainly pairing Peterson with Stephon Gilmore would give the Patriots a pair of Pro Bowl-caliber corners and improve the pass defense. It would also be two $10-plus-million CBs, which in this day and age of high salary caps and pass-happy offenses wouldn't be too crazy at all. I would love to see an impact addition like Peterson, now we just have to sit back and see if it's a realistic possibility. I hope so.

Andy Hart

Last time I questioned Michel's ability along with some others, PFW asked for patience and it payed off in the performance column. However I failed to research his injury history and now thanks to the Injury predictor am extremely worried about his durability after seeing the actual history. Seems like freakish athletes (like Gronk) do not seem to hold up well, so does the reward outweigh the risk or is it the Patriots conditioning at fault. Considering the GOAT uses his own conditioning coach it's beginning to seem like the problem may be with the Pats system. Since the Steelers will never give up Bell, who do you think is our best bet for someone to fill the role while Michel takes enough time to heal correctly and be strong in the playoffs.

Thomas Walkden

Michel's past knee issues were a concern leading up to the draft. He was also a guy who split the load in his time at Georgia, so making him a true featured back was a bit of a projection even in the Patriots pass-first offense. I don't, however, see the connection between freakish athletes (which I don't even think Michel is) and injury. Gronk has dealt with injuries, as so many true tight ends do and really so many NFL players do. He also had an injury history that's been part of his ongoing story. But other freak athletes – Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Khalil Mack and so many others -- remain pretty healthy. Running backs have a much higher rate of injury/wear, though. So a running back with a history of knee issues given a large workload is certainly an injury risk. I don't think it has anything to do with the Patriots training or conditioning staff and I've expressed my feelings regarding Tom Brady's relative health in the past. I don't think it's as much about the TB12 Method as he and others do. But it is what it is. As for running back additions, Mike Gillislee would make the most sense given his recent familiarity with the Patriots system and availability as a free agent. Some, though, have indicated the veteran might not be interested in a return to Foxborough.

Andy Hart

Every AFC East team has allowed between 175-179 points, while the Pats have separated themselves on offense having outscored NYJ by 30, Miami by 60 and the Bills by 130 points! They will win the division, but to beat the Rams or Saints High Octane offense in the Super Bowl they will have to trade for defensive starters. You can't scheme away a lack of talent. Give me 1 corner, 1 safety and 1 linebacker you would target as GM, list them in order of impact and tell me how many of them you would need to bring aboard to tip the scales to good enough to win. Thank you for the great work you do!

Griff Thomas

As I said above, I like the idea of adding a supposedly still elite talent like Peterson at cornerback. He's probably the best option available for the defense. I've also been big on the Deone Bucannon trade train. I think he's a versatile, athletic body for the middle of the defense whether you consider him a linebacker or a safety. I'd like to see how Bill Belichick and Brian Flores could put him to use against modern NFL offenses. Here's what Belichick said about Bucannon while preparing to face him in the 2016 season opener in Arizona: "He's a great player for them. He doesn't weigh a lot on the scale but he plays big. He's tough. He's a really good football player. He adds a lot of team speed to their defense so he's a good player, a tough matchup, a very productive guy for them and I'm really impressed watching him." Take that for what it's worth. I'd also love to see the addition of a pass rusher. I know some have thrown Dante Fowler's name around on the edge. He's had some issues with attitude in Jacksonville and is only playing 31 percent of the Jags snaps, but I loved his potential coming out of Florida. Not sure he's a locker room fit, but he fits the mold of a former first-round pick disappointment that Belichick has targeted so many times over the years.

Andy Hart

What are the chances of Patriots trading for RB Henry (Titans) and LB Lee (Raiders)? Are you interested in these players?

Marc Newsome

I think the Patriots are in the market for a bigger ball carrier who is a traditional runner and Derrick Henry might be a cheap option as the former 1,000-yard rusher could be falling out of favor in Tennessee. Though Henry has started seven games, he's averaging just 3.3 per carry and is worth a phone call, at the very least. I'd give up a late-round pick for him as running back depth, but nothing more. By Lee, I mistakenly had assumed you meant Cowboys veteran linebacker Sean Lee, a name I'd previously heard tossed about. Though I don't think he fixes the need for athleticism or speed at this point in his career, he's certainly a capable veteran. I wouldn't be overly excited to go after him, especially given his injury history, but he's certainly a solid player. I also don't know if Dallas would be looking to deal its veteran captain and former All-Pro. I'm gonna be honest, I don't know much about Raiders linebacker Marquel Lee. Clearly Oakland is open to trading talent, but I'm not sure why they would look to deal the young, starting-caliber linebacker.

Andy Hart

Assuming that Josh Gordon keeps producing the way he is, Patriots got a good value for their 5th round pick, but what about for Danny Shelton? Do you think that giving a 3d-round pick for a pretty average, one-dimensional player who is in the last year of his contract was a good value?

Lenny Dryer

Technically, New England acquired Shelton and a fifth-round pick in exchange for a third-round selection. That changes the value discussion a bit. I have been disappointed in what I've seen from Shelton. He's a rotational run-stuffer and it feels like the run defense isn't as good when he's on the field compared to, say, Lawrence Guy. I loved Shelton coming out of college and hoped he might inject life into the interior of the Patriots defensive line. He has not. Still, dropping down from the end of the third round to near the top of the fifth round isn't a huge price to give up. Overall, though, Shelton has been disappointing in my eyes.

Andy Hart

Pats fan from Florida. Love reading your guys take on the biggest Patriots questions. 2 questions. With the trade deadline approaching I was wondering what would be the chances of the Patriots trading for Patrick Peterson since he wants out of Arizona and/or Demaryius Thomas. I feel both of these players' talents could improve this season's chances of a deep playoff run for the Pats. And who are some lesser obvious trade targets the Patriots might acquire. Looking forward to hearing PFW's writer's opinions.

Ozni Rhodes

I looked at the possibility of Pat Pete becoming a Pat to lead off the mailbag. I have no interest in Thomas and don't think that the Patriots would either. He's a guy who drops too many balls and comes up small in some big spots. I also think Josh Gordon's arrival and acclimation to the offense has filled out the wide receiver corps nicely. As for some other trade targets, I addressed some bigger name options along the way in this mailbag. Other names? How about a couple Lions in running backs in either Ameer Abdullah or LeGarrette Blount? Broncos pass rusher Shane Ray? Raiders safety Karl Joseph? The more names I throw out there the better chance I have of being right!

Andy Hart

RB Jeremy Hill is gone for the year and may not be the same after significant injury. Michele's knee was a question mark which only got bigger. Burkhead who may also come back by the playoffs, is injury prone and not known to be a ball carrier. Other guys are just fillers. Wouldn't it be prudent for Patriots to get a quality power back before the trade deal line?

Pat Lucas

While it doesn't necessarily have to be a true power back, I am of the belief the Patriots need to add some depth at running back. Michel is hurt for the second time in a couple months. James White isn't a great true runner and is bound to wear down if he's asked to do too much. I think Kenjon Barner is at best a backup, change-of-pace guy. Even when Michel is ready to play and, fingers crossed, Burkhead returns from IR, I think depth is lacking. Gillislee is the most obvious name to keep an eye on, but other options to sign or trade for can't be ruled out. I will be stunned if the Patriots don't add a running back.

Andy Hart

Tight win last weekend. With the injury to Michel (although it is being reported as not serious) do you see Bill making any other moves at RB or do you see the offense making adjustments to their running game (say using unique personnel packages or the screen game) and waiting until Burkhead is eligible to return? What is the earliest Burkhead could return considering he is on IR? Thanks for all of your work. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Robert Hayes

As I said in the previous answer, I do think there will need to be an addition at running back. As for Burkhead, he was placed on IR on Sept. 26 with a neck injury. So he needs to miss eight weeks total before he can return to game action. That means would be eligible to play after the bye week against the Jets, at the earliest, assuming he is healthy enough to do so.

Andy Hart

Is it me (and my girlfriend, whom thought the same) or towards the end of Josh Gordon's long catch-and-run (which showed amazing YAC skills by the way), he seemed to be jogging and was thus chased down and tackled short of the end zone? The only explanations that I could think of were that he either makes running look effortless, he may have been gassed out or a combination of these. What are your thoughts? Regardless, it's good to see that more and more he has been getting consistent looks on the offense, evidenced by the recurring comments of his teammates, which describe favorably his rather quick grasping of the playbook.

Alex Quezada

Gordon did look slow at the end of his big play, because he was. And he admitted after the game that he indeed ran out of gas a little bit. Hopefully his conditioning will improve, because just about every other area of his game has gotten better in the month that he's been in New England. He's making more plays and getting more chances. And you are right in that every word said about him by his coaches, teammates and, most importantly Brady, has been positive and hopeful. He adds something very different to the offense and hopefully the positive momentum continues throughout the rest of the season. And hopefully next time he breaks tackles in the middle of the field he has the burst to take it to the house. He probably deserved a touchdown on that play but just couldn't quite leg it out.

Andy Hart

Hello and many thanks for picking my question. This question may be a little bit late but it's about the Chiefs. Three regular season games in a row (2014 season, 2017 season opener and this season), they managed to score 40 or more against the Pats. Do you think Andy Reid may have some special recipes against the Patriots? I also want to cheat and ask one more question. The Raiders were fined last week for failing to downgrade a Guard from "questionable" to "out" when he didn't travel with the team, as per Do you think the Patriots may be facing a similar fine since they only downgraded Big Gronk to "Doubtful" last Saturday, when he didn't travel with the team?
Thank you!

John Lee

I think Reid is a really good offensive coach who has been fielding some really good offensive talent with the Chiefs. That's a bad recipe for the Patriots defense. I don't think Reid does anything special, but he's creative and finds ways to get his playmakers the ball in space so they can make things happen. In those games he's also gotten pretty darn good quarterback play. New England's recent shootout victory was a great win. Though it will probably scare fans, it might be fun to see the two teams go at it again in the postseason. As for the Gronkowski injury, I don't think New England faces anything. They downgraded him to doubtful when he didn't make the trip and then to out on Sunday morning. Belichick did say they didn't know for sure that the tight end wouldn't play until Sunday morning, when they declared him out. They handled it the way they should, I believe.

Andy Hart

Why didn't the Patriots go for the field goal on the 40-yard line, during the 4th quarter they were up38-31 with 7 min left on the clock, instead they punted ?? Why would Belichick call to punt it instead?

Kathy Southworth

The Patriots were actually at the Bears 33 with 30 seconds to play leading 38-31. That would have meant a 51-yard field goal. That's more than makeable but also not a sure thing. If missed, Chicago would get the ball at the 41-yard line, giving them a short field to try to score a touchdown. A punt has the chance to put them much further back, though Ryan Allen's touchback actually gave the home team possession at the 20. Still, at that point I think Belichick took the much safer approach even if things did get a little dicey in the end.

Andy Hart

How many more close games will the Pats just squeak by? Seriously, another win but another nail biter for the defense. I know the Pats made some INTs but there were several more plays where the DB was beaten and the QB made poor throws. I saw at least 3 just in the first quarter. When we face a quality QB, which we will vs Green Bay and Pitt, I see worries ahead. It feels like we will win against most of the rest of the schedule, but this defender feels like it will soon disappoint. Remember Troy Brown at Corner? That was a magical time, but these days in a pass happy league, and penalties for just looking at a QB the wrong way, it's just a matter of time until we get torched. Talent level aside, which is maybe average to good, plus depth concern, do you see a trade ahead at safety? Any other scheme that can help? Or are we likely needing to score 35 plus points every game to survive?

Michael Monk

The defense has its issues, both in pass rush and coverage. On that I think we can all agree. It's also a trend in the NFL where there aren't many good defenses and many offenses are scoring many more points. As you noted, it's the game of football in 2018. The Patriots may not face an offense better than the Chiefs, and if they do it will be the Rams in the Super Bowl. Then, it's anyone's game in a one-off setting on a neutral field. The Patriots will likely pursue defensive help at the deadline. They will continue to tweak their scheme and game plan each week. But, against good offenses, I also think the Brady-led offense will need to score 30-plus points more often than not. And I have faith that New England can do just that far more often than not, as they have topped 38 points in four straight games now, all wins.

Andy Hart

Was the Jags defense really that good vs. Pats or was it just the Pats were woefully undermanned on offense and ,like so many Miami games really bothered by 97-degree heat that felt like over 100? It's beginning to look like they really could not adjust to that extreme heat as the Jags defense has been woeful without any major lineup changes.

Dave Brown

The talented Jacksonville defense was playing much better early in the season than it is now. The heat was a factor, no doubt. But the biggest issue was the state of the Patriots offense. Sony Michel had yet to make an impact, that being his NFL debut. Julian Edelman was suspended. Josh Gordon was still a Brown. It was a completely different unit than we've seen in recent weeks. A combination of all those factors led to an ugly road loss against a team that played well against the Patriots for the second time in less than a year.

Andy Hart

I was at the Chiefs game, and noticed that all kickoffs were not handled if the kick was over their heads. I always thought that a kickoff not handled and remaining in the end zone, would be a touchdown if recovered by kicking team.

Paul Lanteigne

That rule was changed this year. If the ball hits the ground in the end zone it is an automatic touchback.

Andy Hart

Given the issues with depth/performance at certain positions (LB, RB) are there players currently on IR that might return to action this year (Bentley, Sam, Burkhead, Hill) and if so, when?

Mark Ota

Based on roster rules, the guys who are eligible to return from IR are Duke Dawson, Jeremy Hill, Rex Burkhead and Ja'Whaun Bentley. Hill tore his ACL, so he's not going to return. Bentley's reported torn bicep also will keep him from being a candidate. Right now, that means Dawson and Burkhead are the top and really only options to return and help the team latter in the season. Dawson is eligible after the Bills game this Monday, Burkhead after the bye week. Guys like Christian Sam and Isaiah Wynn are not eligible due to the fact that they were placed on IR in the preseason and weren't on the 53-man roster to open the year.

Andy Hart

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