Players The New England Patriots Should Get
Why Get Anyone? We're Great!
I'm sure there is someone wondering, why get anyone? The Pats are the best team ever. I know, the Patriots are amazing. We have overcome so much adversity through the years and always seem to be on the verge of that fourth Super Bowl. But that's just it, we're on the verge. We never get over the hump to the promised land of immortal sports glory. Instead of basking in the champagne shower of Tom Brady's fourth ring, Pats fans are left watching some other team get to share the glory. If we want to win we need more depth. Plain and simple. It is the most important thing when winning a title in any sport. I will say it again. Depth is the most important thing. The Seahawks? They had so much depth last year. All-Pro linebacker Mayo and his would-be 100+ tackles are gone, as are Stevan Ridley's 1,000 rushing yards and 10+ touchdowns (he was about to turn it on, trust me). The Patriots need to get some more players if they wish to compete with the upper echelon of the NFL.
Runningback- Ray Rice
Don't freak out. At least not before listening to my pitch for the wife-beater. I do not condone his behavior, and I think that he should receive more of a punishment than what he is getting from the world. However, I would be the biggest hypochrite if I supported Mike Vick and not at least gave Ray Rice a chance. There's no denying his talent and at just 27 years old there is still plenty left in the tank for this little receiving back to churn out between the tackles... or around the tackles... because you know the guy is pretty good. In six NFL seasons he has rushed for 6,000 yards and 37 touchdowns while adding another 3,000 receiving yards to go along with 6 more scores. 9,000 yards in 6 seasons? That's pretty damn impressive. With Ridley down the Pats need another lead back that can take the lion's share of the carries. Vereen is too frail and the other backs aren't good enough. Besides, Vereen is more of a receiving back. Sure, he can rip off some runs (9 rushes for 90 yards against the Bengals) but that is only when he has a lead rusher to take off the pressure so he can change the pace. Ridley never had the burst to take a ball all the way to the end zone. Rice can get the tough short yards and if he finds a hole... gone. His receiving is also a plus. Imagine him and Vereen leaking out of the backfield? That reminds me of Lesean McCoy and Darren Sproles (before the latter got injured). All the abuse stuff will also give him more fire to prove himself on the field too. While I can't forgive him for what he did, I would be willing to put it aside for a few hours on Sunday if it helped Tom Brady get his ring.
Wide Receiver- Vincent Jackson
There's been a lot of talk lately of the Pats trading for V-Jax. At first, I was against the idea. After all, Vincent Jackson has never impressed me. He has 3 years and $30 million left on his contract and he is on the wrong side of 30. But after some careful thought, my mind is starting to change a bit. His best year came in 2012... when he didn't have Phillip Rivers throwing him the ball. Instead he had Josh Freeman and Mike Glennon throwing interceptions left and right. Imagine what he could do with Tom Brady? He also has posted some consistency with yardage and touchdowns (to a point). In only 3 of his 10 seasons has he not played in 16 games (one of them he played in 15 games) showing his reliability. At 6'5" and 230lbs he offers Tom Brady the type of deep threat, big bodied receiver that can fight for that 1-on-1 ball. The only real problem is the money, but since the pats cut Mankins then that money can be paid for this season from Mankins's salary cap savings. If he can stay healthy I think it is a wise investment, especially if they can somehow get rid of Danny Amendola's contract as well, freeing up even more money! So really the only problem is whether or not New England is willing to jeopardize two years and $20 million for a receiver like Jackson. This one is probably unlikely to occur, but the thought of Brady throwing to the big-bodied receiver in the end zone is pretty cool huh?
Akeem Ayers 2012 stats vs. Jerod Mayo's 2012 stats
Outside Linebacker- Akeem Ayers
As much as I would love to mess with all my readers and say I called this, I didn't. I had no idea who Ayers was until the Pats traded for him already. It's an interesting trade nonetheless though. Ayers, the former UCLA Bruin, gives the Patriots one of the most athletic linebacker trios in the NFL. Ayers is only 25 years old and offers a potential athletic freak to the already fearsome Jamie Collins. This depends on if Ayers's knees heal up though so he can regain his explosiveness. Hightower's short arms suit him for the middle linebacker position, allowing Ayers and Collins to take the outside. Remember, Ayers had over 100 tackles and 6 sacks in 2012, that was only two years ago! Look at their compared stats. I picked 2012 because it was when Ayers was in a 4-3 (Where he fits best) and when both were healthy. It was only two years ago so don't freak on the time frame! The Pats would now have two outside linebackers with the freaky athleticism to get around the edge and lay the wood on a quarterback. At 6'3" and 255 pounds, Ayers surely has the size to play outside linebacker in the 4-3 like that Pats run. The reason he was traded was his inability to adjust to the 3-4 of the Titans. In a familiar scheme now, it only seems likely he boosts his 2 solo tackles in one game this season. I see the linebacker putting up at least twenty with 3-5 sacks. He will be playing with better players around him than the Titans had to offer, so if he can regain form and health, he will have opportunities to make some big plays.
Oh the irony. The man that cost the Patriots two Super Bowls coming to Foxboro to help his once nemesis win his fourth. The Pats are always willing to forgive though if it helps them win. Remember Darelle Revis? How many of you used to say he was overrated then suddenly praised him once he donned the blue and white. Tuck makes sense for a lot of reasons. He is on a losing team and boasts only 18 tackles and a single sack. That makes him pretty cheap on the trade market. A seventh or sixth so the Raiders can dump his salary? He is signed to a team-friendly 2 year $11 million deal. Like Jackson, 2014 doesn't matter, Mankins cap savings pay for that. Next year though, he will be on a one year for $5.5 million. This is a cheap price to pay if he helps the team get to the Super Bowl this year. He has a plus rating during this season and would only benefit from playing alongside players like Ninkovich and Chandler Jones. With Jones's hip injury, his pass rushing would provide excellent depth as well as a good short term replacement.
Who Should The Pats Acquire
These are the four players I think the Patriots should acquire before the trade deadline. Well, three and one that I support. They're based solely on my opinion though so take these suggestions with a grain of salt. Let me know what you think in the comments!