Russell Wilson’s relationship with the Seahawks appears to be on the rocks. While Wilson has yet to formally request a trade from Seattle, he has reportedly given the team a preferred list of destinations in the event that he is traded and the Patriots were not included.
Wilson is just another in a growing list of high profile quarterbacks who have made it known that they do not want to go to the Patriots. DeShaun Watson reportedly has two AFC East teams on his list in the Dolphins and Jets, but the Patriots were notably absent. Reports came out after Matthew Stafford was sent to the Rams that he had told the Lions that the Patriots were the only team that he did not want to be traded to, according to Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston.
These elite quarterbacks all being so uninterested in playing for the Patriots raises some questions. What is turning them away? Is it just the lack of offensive skill players or is there also a lingering residual stench emanating from New England stemming from their treatment of Tom Brady at the end of his time in Foxboro? Are the league’s most high profile players turned off by the idea of playing for Bill Belichick after Brady proved he could win without him?
Even if it is just the current state of the pass catching weapons that’s making the Patriots so unappealing, it won’t be easy to fix that problem. One of the top pass-catching options on the market, Hunter Henry, went on the radio and put into context why it might be difficult for the Patriots to lure offensive talent of any kind in free agency.
“I want to play somewhere where there’s a good quarterback. That’s huge for our position. It makes things a lot easier.”Hunter Henry on SiriusXM NFL Radio
Henry and players like him aren’t going to be too excited about playing for the Patriots without a reliable quarterback at the helm. So skill players don’t want to come unless there’s a good quarterback and quarterbacks don’t want to come unless there are good skill players. It’s not too hard to see why that’s a problem.
NFL free agency opens March 15th and New England’s options are limited if none of these trade candidates change their tune about playing for the Patriots. Speculation has begun to circulate that Bill Belichick could be planning to bring back Cam Newton due to the scarcity of good quarterbacks available and willing to come to Foxboro.
The Patriots could always attempt to solve their offensive issues through the draft, but that could mean a longer rebuild than expected. It’s hard to imagine Belichick nailing every pick and putting together a prolific young offense in just one draft. Unless that happens, New England could continue to struggle to put up points next season.
Photo: (Ted S. Warren – AP Photo)