The New England Patriots have spent a lot of the 2023 offseason filling evident holes on offense and retaining key members of an above common protection.
Certain, the Patriots signing Juju Smith-Schuster, James Robinson, and Mike Gesicki helps type an upgraded pass-catching group from final 12 months on paper, however the staff has nonetheless failed to handle the elephant within the room.
They desperately want a real broad receiver No. 1. The offense at the moment is a lot better as constructed, however it might probably nonetheless solely be in the course of the league with offensive coordinator Invoice O’Brien and the brand new weapons.
The Patriots want somebody that may dictate coverages, be the subject of opponents’ gameplans, and take the burden off the remainder of the unit. Getting a real No. 1 receiver unlocks the remainder of the offense and can get essentially the most manufacturing out of every offensive talent place.
DeAndre Hopkins is that man.
He’s an elite No. 1 broad receiver that Belichick adores, and thankfully for the Patriots, he’s really accessible on the commerce market. With Brandin Cooks being shipped off to the Dallas Cowboys and the excessive asking worth for Denver Broncos receiver Jerry Jeudy, the Patriots might pivot to the higher of the three in Hopkins.
Let’s check out some commerce packages that might see the Patriots including the elite playmaking receiver.
With Brandin Cooks going for a 2023 fifth-round choose and a sixth-rounder in 2024, Patriots followers might really feel they’ll get Hopkins for one thing related.
However the fact is Hopkins is in a complete different class.
Though he’s approaching the top of his profession, Hopkins could also be value a third-round choose this 12 months and a future fifth-rounder that may flip right into a fourth primarily based on enjoying time and manufacturing.
This deal permits the Cardinals to maneuver on from Hopkins, whereas gaining some worth in return for such a high-end participant.
The Patriots might play the lengthy recreation and wait all the best way till June to accumulate him for a fifth and sixth-round choose. However why wait? Exit and put a cap on the offseason by including a real No. 1 receiver now, earlier than the draft performs out.
Trent Brown is a doable shock reduce candidate with Conor McDermott, Riley Reiff, and Calvin Anderson all getting some assured cash, which finally factors to their roster spots being solidified.
Brown might go off to Arizona to a Cardinals staff that desperately wants offensive line assist, and the staff would additionally get again a top-100 choose for a receiver who already seems to be to be out the door.
This one is a bit more distinctive, because the Patriots might look to increase or transfer on from one among their homegrown abilities.
No matter what Arizona does with the No. 3 total choose of the 2023 NFL draft, they’ll nonetheless have one of many worst defenses within the league. Including an explosive, younger move rusher might bolster that protection along with the staff presumably going out and drafting one other playmaker like Alabama’s Will Anderson.
There’s all the time an opportunity Uche may very well be re-signed by the Patriots down the road, however actually, if shifting on is what it takes to push a deal over the age to get Hopkins, the Patriots must be all in, particularly with Uche coming into a contract 12 months in 2023.
Resetting the place with a less expensive contract and including a real No. 1 receiver is perhaps the most effective case situation for all events concerned.