New England Patriots

Patriots are elite, but are still dealing in order to improve in the future

18 August 2016: New England Patriots tight end AJ Derby (86) celebrates his touch down. The New England Patriots defeated the Chicago Bears 23-22 in a preseason NFL game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photograph by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)
Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire

The New England Patriots are unquestionably one of, if not the best team in the entire NFL. This is the team who went 3-1 without star quarterback Tom Brady, and currently sit 6-1 heading into a Week 8 rematch with the Buffalo Bills, the only team who beat them. So, there are not many moves the Patriots need to make before the November 1 trade deadline, right? Not so fast, because that just wouldn’t be the Bill Belichick way of doing things. Even with the Patriots sitting atop the NFL, they chose to make two deals on Tuesday, with the second sending tight end A.J. Derby to Denver Broncos.

As reported by the team’s official website, Broncos general manager John Elway spoke about the addition of Derby and what he could bring to the table.

“A.J. is a young tight end who can help us immediately,” general manager John Elway said. “He has tremendous upside and will fit in well on our team.”

While the move is one that nets the Broncos a player, it’s beneficial for both sides, and it’s hard to deny that the Patriots aren’t just continuously building towards a bright future. Just hours after trading with the Detroit Lions for third-year linebacker Kyle Van Noy, this move gets them back a draft pick, and a fifth-round selection at that.

Somehow, shockingly, the Patriots were able to net a fifth rounder for a player in Derby who is completely unproven. The former sixth-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft was impressive during preseason for New England, though, catching 15 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. He’s still raw, without question, as he’s a converted college quarterback, so don’t expect him to step in and immediately fill a need for the Broncos right out of the gate.

Regardless of how you look at it, the Patriots just keep on winning. Whether it be on the field or off it, they’re making moves that set them up for immediate success in 2016, as well as the potential for a bright future thanks to the acquisition of young players with upside of their own.

It shouldn’t all be rave reviews for the Patriots, though, as the Broncos deserve some love for the addition of Derby at a spot where they drastically need some help. Virgil Green has been the most productive tight end for the Broncos this season, catching just 10 passes for 95 yards. While Green, who’s 28, has shown some ability at times, he’s never caught more than 12 passes in a single season. It’s safe to say the Broncos needed a tight end and one who could turn into something down the road.

On that same note, it probably goes without saying that the Patriots have almost zero interest or need in a tight end, as Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett could wind up being the most dangerous pairing in the NFL currently.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Patriots choose to make any additional moves before the deadline, but it wouldn’t be the slightest bit shocking if so.

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