The New England Patriots were the favorites to win the Super Bowl this season, but four weeks into the season, they only have a 2-2 record. Not only that, the Patriots currently have one of the worst defenses in the league, and they appear to be in trouble moving forward. However, the latest rumors suggest that they could trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or cornerback Malcolm Butler to bolster their struggling defense.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Patriots should consider trading Garoppolo so that they can salvage their fading season. New England might have won the Super Bowl in 2014 after starting that season at 2-2, but this year is a different story. The Patriots have a real problem on defense, and they have to trade away their best asset to improve the team’s secondary.
Tom Brady is having a great season, and he is not slowing down despite turning 40-years-old. Garoppolo will become a free agent at the end of the season unless the Patriots franchise tags him. La Canfora noted that teams like the San Francisco 49ers need a quarterback, and they can trade several key pieces for the Patriots’ defense.
If the Patriots want to keep Garoppolo, another trade candidate is Malcolm Butler, who will also be a free agent at the end of the season. However, Butler does not hold as much value as Garoppolo at the moment, and the Patriots need all the help they can on the defensive end.
The Patriots had a chance to prove that their defense is not a problem on Sunday, but they allowed 33 points to the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium in their 33-30 loss. It was the Patriots’ second loss at home this season, and it certainly alarmed lots of fans. But what really happened to the Patriots supposedly strong defense?
Christian D’Andrea of SB Nation believes the defensive problem started when veteran linebacker Rob Ninkovich abruptly retired this offseason while Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard left in free agency. The Patriots are also missing a fully healthy D’onta Hightower, who played in limited minutes in two games due to an MCL sprain.
New England also lost second-year lineman Vincent Valentine and rookie defensive end Derek Rivers to injuries. The team’s biggest signing of the summer, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, is currently struggling to adapt to the defensive schemes of the Patriots. The results are astonishing for the Patriots since they have the NFL-worst defense with 128 points allowed in the first four games.
The Patriots are a veteran team coached by Bill Belichick, and he surely has a plan to improve or motivate his secondary. As for the possibility of a trade, Ryan Hannable of WEEI Sports Radio Network thinks that a trade is not yet needed, and it’s not the time to panic. However, Hannable also pointed out that the Patriots, and their defense historically peak around November and December.
Nevertheless, the Patriots are looking for ways to improve their defense. NESN reports that the Patriots held workouts last week for five players that included linebackers Austin Calitro and Cam Johnson. Calitro is a rookie from Villanova while Johnson has a total of 40 tackles and three sacks in five seasons with the 49ers, Colts, and Browns.
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