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Patriots Mailbag: Judon's Future, Camp Competition and More

With training just around the corner there's lots of interest in the depth chart in the weeks' mailbag.


Trading Matthew Judon has come up so here are some questions, given his age and coming off injury what would his trade value be to another team? If some low-round pick would it be better not to trade him? Also, should re-signing him for another year or two be considered? Steve Earle

I would think a proven veteran like Judon would be a decent trade chip for any team. Perhaps a Day 2 pick would make sense for a team that feels like it's close to contending for a title and in need of a pass rusher would be willing to give that up in a trade. Judon will be 32 in August so it would be understandable if a team felt he was worth that type of investment. For the Patriots, it might make more sense to let him go considering he likely would be past his prime by the time they are ready to truly compete again. Obviously, the money would play a role in any decision of that nature, and if Judon wanted to stay for another couple of seasons the Patriots would likely welcome him back. But my guess is Judon will look at his next deal as his last and will look to cash in as one of the more productive pass rushers in the league, and therefore he will likely look elsewhere for a big deal in 2025.

Matthew Judon and a 2025 second-round pick for Brandon Aiyuk. Do you make the deal 1.) If you're the Patriots? 2.) If you're the 49ers? I hate to see Judon leave. We need the pass rush. But I can see this being in the best interest of all parties. Your thoughts? Joel Lindgren

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk catches a pass and runs against the Los Angeles Rams.
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk catches a pass and runs against the Los Angeles Rams.

I would definitely do that deal if I were the Patriots. If I were John Lynch and the Niners, I wouldn't even consider it. Judon will be 32 and Aiyuk is just entering his prime at 26. That huge difference is not worth a second-round pick. Plus, the Niners have Nick Bosa and a stellar defense already. Could they use another pass rusher? Of course, most contenders would love to add a guy like Judon as an additional pass rusher. But losing a young receiver like Aiyuk would not be wise for San Francisco as they continue to try to work out a deal to keep him long term. But if they wanted to make the deal, I would jump at that opportunity if I were Eliot Wolf. And then I would make sure to lock up Aiyuk with a long-term contract as soon as possible.

Why are the fans of the Patriots so upset with Eliot Wolf? The only position not to see a significant push to fortify is left tackle in my opinion. Will a training camp cut at tackle or after July 1st released player be joining the team if the current competing tackles are not good enough? I think the group in place will find its way under coach Scott Peters. What are your thoughts? – Bryant Steeth

I will start off by saying I haven't really seen or heard about a lot of people being upset with Wolf. Most have expressed satisfaction with a lot of the re-signings and applauded the team for trying to keep their past draft picks and reward them with new deals. As far as criticism goes, there has been some when it comes to adding additional talent, which in my view is valid. The Patriots were in need of help along the offensive line and wide receiver at the start of free agency and failed to add much in the way of veteran help at either spot. The line brought in a right tackle in Chuks Okorafor who lost his starting job last season in Pittsburgh, and a third-round pick in Caedan Wallace who has never played on the left side. The group also figures to be without Cole Strange at the start of the season, so the line is very much in flux with no proven answers brought in to help. Wolf tried to add a No. 1-caliber wide receiver in Calvin Ridley and was unable to do so, leaving a pair of rookies and veteran backup K.J. Osborn as the lone newcomers. There are a lot of names at the position but not a lot of proven playmakers, so that was another area that failed to be addressed. Overall, I like the way Wolf and Jerod Mayo were able to maintain some continuity by re-signing some veterans and more importantly extending Christian Barmore, but there were some areas where upgrades were needed and not found. I wouldn't characterize many people as being upset with Wolf, but few are thrilled with the offseason either.

Has there been any explanation given for the former teammates of Tom Brady who weren't at his induction? I am thinking in particular of Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and Mike Vrabel. As current members of the Hall don't you think it would have been appropriate for them to be in attendance? Just curious if any information is out there? Tom McElhinney

Obviously all three were noticeably missing that night and I have not read or heard any specific reasons for their absences. Just speculating but it's possible that Vrabel was busy in his new role in Cleveland working with the coaching staff as the event took place in the midst of minicamp for many teams. I have no theories for the other two but there are literally hundreds of reasons why the timing may not have worked for any of them. All three have their own families and lives to consider and it's certainly possible that the timing simply didn't allow them to attend. As I said, I haven't read or seen any specific reasons they weren't there, and I don't want to comment without knowing more information.

Any updates on the pre and postgame shows? Hardy was the all-time best in that position. Would love to have him back. - Richard Hardy, Virginia

Unfortunately, Hardy will not be returning as our host after he moved off the midday show into mornings for his regular full-time job at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. The change in hours would not allow him to work all day on Sundays as he had in the past, so he decided to step down. As of now our plan is to have Matt Smith, our producer at Kraft Sports Productions and my co-host on the "Pats From the Past" podcast replace Hardy. Mike Dussault and I are looking forward to it.

Long time Pats fan with an old school trivia question, hoping you guys would know the answer: During the 1970s and '80s, the Pats offensive line (except the center) lined up slightly behind the line of scrimmage. Younger fans can check out old clips to see this formation. Never saw any other team do that before or since. Why did they do this? RD Reddy

I'm not exactly sure which alignment you are referring to but the offensive line as a rule lines up just behind the center so as not to in ruled as being in the neutral zone. The center is the only player allowed by rule to be that close to the ball. I went back and looked at some highlights of the Patriots offensive line in the 1970s and the alignment looks quite similar to what we see from the Patriots and every other team today. One slight difference you will notice in today's football is the line tends to bow back as it extends to the tackles. Today's rules are more lenient toward tackles, allowing them to line up a bit off center in an effort to help with their pass blocking. Back in the 1970s the lines were pretty straight across from tackle to tackle. So, aside from the tackles playing with their outside foot lined up behind the inside foot, there hasn't really been much of a change to alignments over the years.

My question is what is coach Jerod Mayo telling his team? I understand the cards are totally stacked against us for so many reasons. But as a player you dream big and want to win every game. The game is built on emotion. As a fan I hope we win every time they play. There are some really great players on this roster. How do they show up every day? Would love to hear your thoughts and advice on how to get through this year. Kevin Mulholland

I'd start by saying why not wait until the team actually takes the field before looking for advice on how to deal with getting through the season. Games aren't played on paper; they take place on the field and are decided by actual players. I have no idea what Mayo's message has been to the players, but I can assure you that he and the rest of the coaching staff are working to best prepare the team for the coming season. There's a lot to be excited about with a new draft class led by an exciting young quarterback in Drake Maye. Let's watch how it plays out and enjoy the hope that youth brings before we wonder how we will handle any disappointment.

After watching and enjoying every single minute of Tom Brady's Patriots Hall Of Fame ceremony and hearing so many contributions from so many legendary players who gave blood, sweat and tears next to him in the pursuit of more championships it all got me thinking who the GOAT of the dynasty era would be if we took Tom Brady out of the equation? I personally couldn't see past Willie McGinest with his intelligence, ability and the leadership qualities that I believe set the standard for all the years to come long after he was gone. Who is your player that you believe is worthy of the "Greatest player of the dynasty that wasn't Tom Brady" accolade Paul? Marc Saez

This one is tough because there are so many great options. I've always been partial to Rodney Harrison as one of my favorite Patriots due to his toughness, desire and professionalism. In terms of overall greatness, Ty Law and Richard Seymour are tough to overlook as well. But if I had to pick just one GOAT outside of Brady it would have to be Rob Gronkowski. He is the best player I watched in my years in Foxborough outside of Brady and to me it's not really close. No one dominated the way Gronkowski did, and his effervescent personality off the field made him a pleasure to cover. Gronk would be my pick.

Why on earth is there so much as even a question on re-signing good players like Christian Barmore, Anfernee Jennings, Hunter Henry and the list goes on? Is the newbie fan in pouting over the four-win season all a huff that we're to throw the baby out with the bath water? Sadly, that's all it seems. Every player signed in FA be it our own players or guys like K.J. Osborn was deemed a positive move? But collectively we're still discussing and explaining it? Why? Media in January deemed this a full roster rebuild spanning several years? This when the defense is fairly well stocked with good young players. And there are guys on offense that are good. Mike Onwenu, David Andrews, Henry, Cole Strange (if healthy), Kendrick Bourne, Pop Douglas, Rhamondre Stephenson. But yet we keep the topic out there for what prospective drama needs? Jim K.

Basically, what you're saying is the only reason anybody disagrees with your assessment of the moves would be for their need for drama? That makes no sense. Some of the players the Patriots re-signed made a ton of sense. Onwenu is the team's best lineman. Henry was the only tight end on the roster when he re-signed. Barmore's extension was a great move. But for all the talent you claim is on the roster, the team won four games last year so maybe bringing back so many of the same players didn't sit well with some people. I would rather have given Bourne's money to Calvin Ridley and perhaps been able to land a potential No. 1 receiver instead of falling short. Or possibly used that money to get aggressive in pursuit of Brandon Aiyuk or Tee Higgins. I don't think that represents a need for drama at all. Just a desire to improve the talent level of the team. And I also don't think there's been a ton negativity with regard to the offseason to be honest. There has been some questioning of some of the moves but the big ones like Onwenu and Barmore have been universally applauded.

DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer

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