FOXBORO — The New England Patriots never settle. Bill Belichick and Co. are always looking for an upgrade and tend to know when a player is declining before anyone else does. So is there currently a trade or free agent on Belichick’s mind?
The wide receiver and tight end positions are arguably where there’s the highest likelihood for new additions. A popular trade window is right before Week 1, after training camp wraps up and there’s been ample time to evaluate players’ strengths and weaknesses.
Phillip Dorsett was picked up by the Patriots during that window and has become a reliable target for Tom Brady that’s expected to have an increased role this upcoming season.
It’s been heavily discussed that New England is thin at TE and it may become a fourth or fifth option on offense. However, there may be some assets around the league that are being watched by Belichick. For example, Cameron Brate of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is someone who could find himself with an increased role in Foxboro come the regular season.
Brate is entering his sixth season in the NFL who averaged 9.6 yards on 49 targets and scored six touchdowns last season. At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, his size makes him an effective blocker as well.
#Bucs TE Cameron Brate is a good one. Chung fights off the contact by Brate, stays in perfect position to trail the in-cut and then is able to close and dive to break up the pass. #Patriots pic.twitter.com/psz6JXWscZ
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) September 22, 2018
As for who the Patriots can shop around, Jonathon Jones comes to mind simply due to the fact that the team is extremely deep at cornerback and Jones has enough value where New England can use him to beef up a position where they need some extra security.
While Belichick is always locked in on his team, he’ll definitely be aware of who is impressing at training camps around the league.