There has been a lot of focus on the quarterback position for the New England Patriots over the last few weeks. When starting quarterback Mac Jones was injured and his backup Brian Hoyer was sidelined shortly after, rookie Bailey Zappe stepped into the starting lineup. He led the Patriots to two victories in his starts and played well in both games he came in on relief during.
Is there a quarterback controversy brewing in New England? For now, Jones is going to remain the starter, as he has been taking nearly all of the first-team reps in practice this week in preparation for their game against the New York Jets.
This is an important game for the Patriots as they are looking to get back to the .500 mark and remain relevant in what will be a tough AFC playoff picture. With the NFL trade deadline quickly approaching as well, they have to figure out if they want to be buyers or sellers.
New England made the playoffs last year and there were some high hopes for a repeat of that this season. There is still hope for that to happen, but the team needs to shore up a few areas of the team, especially on the defensive end. Could they have some interest in someone they got a first-hand look at last week?
Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is a suggested trade target for the Patriots. New England just hosted Chicago on Monday Night Football and the Bears trounced them, 33-14. Smith was on the field for all 52 defensive snaps for Chicago, showcasing his full array of talent.
Smith allowed a 29.2 quarterback rating on five targets. He blitzed four times, picking up one sack and one quarterback pressure. Smith also totaled a game-high 12 combined tackles without missing one.
That kind of impact at the second level of the defense is something Bill Belichick would love to have. It is something all of the Patriots’ best defenses have had during his tenure but are currently missing as they are 25th in rushing yards allowed.
With some contention existing between Smith and the Bears after he requested a trade before the regular season, it could be smart for Chicago to flip him for a strong package of draft picks, especially if he is planning on leaving as a free agent in the offseason anyway. Another one of their stout veteran defenders was traded this week, as Robert Quinn was sent to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round draft pick.
It would take a lot more than that to land Smith, but he is worth the price. A tackling machine that has developed nicely in pass coverage is difficult to come by and New England should jump at the chance to acquire him instead of bidding against other teams in free agency for his services.