Report: Patriots open to trading down as some think they could emulate Texans rebuild

Mike Battaglino
4 Min Read
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

With less than a month to go until the 2024 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots are one of the most intriguing teams to watch and reportedly may be willing to trade the No. 3 overall pick.

A possible deal with another team seeking a top quarterback prospect could allow New England to accumulate more draft picks in an attempt to emulate the rebuild the Houston Texans accomplished using a similar strategy.

“The No. 3 draft pick is the highest selection the Patriots have had under Robert Kraft’s ownership,” wrote Diana Russini of The Athletic. “They need a franchise QB, but is this the year they take one?

“New England is open to discussions with other teams looking to move up in exchange for more picks.

“Some believe they could rebuild this team the way we’ve seen the Texans do after moving Deshaun Watson. Rather than draft a QB early, they waited a few years and repeatedly traded down for later draft picks. In 2023, their patience was rewarded with C.J. Stroud and a playoff run.

“I’m told the [Minnesota] Vikings, [Denver] Broncos and [Las Vegas] Raiders are three teams trying to move up to draft their franchise quarterback. With multiple teams all searching for the most important player, the phone lines in New England should be busy.”

The last three teams mentioned all have quarterback situations that are in flux, as do the Patriots for that matter. This offseason, the Vikings moved on from Kirk Cousins as he signed with the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent. The Broncos released Russell Wilson after a tumultuous season under head coach Sean Payton, and the Raiders let go of Jimmy Garoppolo and signed Gardner Minshew to pair with Aidan O’Connell.

In addition, the Patriots traded Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the April draft. The University of Alabama product was the No. 15 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, but wore out his welcome in New England after a successful rookie campaign.

Back in March 2022 leading up to that year’s draft, the Texans traded Watson to the Cleveland Browns. The franchise quarterback had sat out the entire 2021 NFL season in the midst of allegations of sexual misconduct.

In return, the Texans received a bevy of picks, including three first-round selections. Houston eventually would hold the No. 2 and No. 3 overall picks in the 2023 NFL Draft and wound up choosing Stroud and pass rusher Will Anderson. Stroud became the Offensive Rookie of the Year, Anderson was the Defensive Rookie of the Year, and the Texans made the playoffs for the first time since the 2019 season under first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans.

Interestingly, the Texans do not hold a first-round pick in this year’s draft after trading the No. 23 overall selection to the Vikings.

The Patriots need a similar reversal of fortunes after failing to make the playoffs for a second straight season and for the third time in the past four seasons. They parted with legendary head coach Bill Belichick and are entering a new era under Jerod Mayo.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.