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From the Hart: Should Patriots trade for Jared Allen?

As we approach next Tuesday's NFL trade deadline, talk of deals is heating up. In the first notable trades, the Raiders just sent a couple low draft picks to Seattle for former first-round linebacker Aaron Curry and the Jets shipped veteran Derrick Mason to the Texans.

Over on NFL.com, former Cowboys personnel man and current analyst Gil Brandt looks ahead to the trade deadline with some ideas for deals that might make sense – in fact deals that he thinks should happen.

Within his story he includes a pair of trade possibilities for the Patriots. Brandt says that New England should deal for Vikings pass rusher Jared Allen, as well as Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

"Adding Allen or Rodgers-Cromartie would help New England. Getting them both would make the Patriots scary," Brandt writes.

Allen is currently leading the NFL in sacks with 8.5, once again proving himself one of if not the best pass rushing 4-3 defensive end in the game. The Patriots lack a pass rush and are running a base 4-3 look this season. On the surface the deal – which would likely have to involved one of New England's two 2012 first-round picks going to Minnesota – would seem to make sense, even if it might be a bit of pie-in-the-sky thinking.

But would the move make sense in the long term? Bill Belichick told Sirius radio this week that the move to the 4-3 was partially based on the shortened offseason and an effort to simplify what he had to teach his defenders. He seemed to leave a door open for a return to the 3-4 not only later this season, but also as the base scheme in the future. As such, I'm not sure Allen would fit that system in the long term as more than a sub rusher. The 29-year-old has been an end all his career. Could he be a 6-6, 270-pound 3-4 outside linebacker? Would he want to make that switch at age 29?

The other part of the deal also makes sense on paper, as Brandt thinks New England could deal Gary Guyton for a starting-caliber cornerback. Rodgers-Cromartie joined Philadelphia this offseason in the Kevin Kolb trade. He's part of a three-man corner position that also includes Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha. I've always thought Rodgers-Cromartie was a little overrated, but the Patriots pass defense has been lacking and adding a big corner – he's 6-2 – might help. But could he learn the defense quickly enough to help or would adding another body simply hurt any advancements that may be coming in terms of continuity and communication in the back end?

Though it's nothing like the lead up to the trading deadline in baseball, it's fun to have these trade speculations. Allen would clearly add a boost to the Patriots pass rush punch. Realistically, though, I don't think either deal has much chance of happening.

What do you think of the deals that Brandt proposed? Would you send a first-round pick or more for Allen? Would Allen make the Patriots a more worthy Super Bowl contender? Let us know with a comment below!

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