By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — You can almost bank on Bill Belichick making a move ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, one that could have a chance to boost the Patriots’ areas of need. Due to injuries and under-performance, there’s no shortage of potential avenues for improvement.
Despite the unpredictable nature of the NFL’s trade deadline, which is always unusually active in New England, Belichick admitted he already has some players in mind who he may try to add. Just don’t try to guess who that may be.
Speaking to reporters on his Monday conference call, Belichick was asked how important it is to him to have good relationships with other teams in the hopes of making future trades. He said that the Patriots, like other teams across the league, focus more on players that they like than teams that they like to negotiate with come deadline time.
“You look at your roster, you look at the players who are not on your roster – whether they’re on your practice squad or whether they’re on some other team’s practice squad or whether they’re not on anybody’s team – and you put together a list of players that, if you had a need arise, would be the group of players that you go to,” said Belichick. “And, in conjunction with that, you look at the rosters of the other 31 teams in the league, and based on what you know, other information that you gather, the inactive list every week and the play time, you can start to see which players have a diminished role in another team’s system, for whatever those reasons are. And, a lot of times if a team has a need in an area and they match that up with another team who’s not making a player active that the team with the depth issue feels like that player could give them depth, well then that’s a potential conversation.”
He cited the 2014 Akeem Ayers trade with the Titans as a recent example of a player he had in mind before the deadline approached and was able to acquire cheaply due to a lack of playing time. But as predictable as Belichick making a trade has become, he still thinks trade predictions are futile.
“I think trying to predict what’s going to happen this time of year is – I don’t have any idea,” said Belichick. “I’m sure a lot of the other experts out there do, but I don’t. So, you just take it as it comes. If it makes sense and it works, then great. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
At this point, it would be surprising if the Patriots didn’t make a trade. It may be impossible to figure out what Belichick is going to do, especially if even he doesn’t know what he’s going to do. But that won’t stop “experts” from throwing out some guesses on who or what they may get in a deal.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at email@example.com.