The New England Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins in an impressive 21-11 Week 1 win. The Patriots relied heavily on the performance of Cam Newton at quarterback and he threw for 155 yards with a 78.9 completion percentage. Moreover, Newton looked like his vintage self as he rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns on 15 attempts. Newton’s 15 rushing attempts were the second-highest total of his career and marks the first time Newton has eclipsed 14 rush attempts in a game since Week 5 of 2014.
Collectively, New England’s new look, bully ball offense racked up 217 total rushing yards with Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry being the only Patriots wide receivers to record receptions. While New England’s heavily run centric offense was impressive, I doubt it will be enough to keep up with other top-tier offenses throughout the league. However, if the Patriots were to add a quality pass-catching tight end into the offensive equation, it could transform their passing game along with making them virtually impossible to defend inside the red zone.
New England Patriots Trades: Tight End
At 29 years old, Ertz is coming off a Pro Bowl-caliber season in which he caught 88 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns through 15 games. Furthermore, over the course of his seven-year career, Ertz has been one of the best players at his position as he has been selected to three straight Pro Bowls since 2017.
Ertz and the Eagles have been reportedly working on a contract extension, but according to Ian Rapoport (Twitter: @RapSheet), “ Ertz, whose extension talks recently broke off, is speaking to local reporters about negotiations ‘It’s been frustrating at times. It’s been difficult.’ Ertz said he wants to remain in Philly: ‘I don’t know for sure if that feeling is mutual.’”
Fellow Eagles tight end, Dallas Goedert, is currently in the third year of his rookie contract and Philadelphia may favor Goedert in the long term. If this is the case, the Eagles cannot afford to lose an All-Pro tight end for nothing in free agency. Philadelphia would likely ask for Joe Thuney, a player who neither I nor New England would likely feel comfortable dealing at this point. However, if the Eagles would be willing to deal Ertz for a 2021 first-round pick, a pick which should have more value this season than previous ones as the new look Patriots are no longer guaranteed to make the playoffs, I would make that trade in an instant.
While Everett has had nowhere near the career of Ertz, he has proved to be a quality NFL starter with the Rams. At just 26 years old, Everett is in the final year of his rookie contract and given the Rams contract commitment to starting tight end Tyler Higbee, Everett’s days in Los Angeles are numbered. Although Everett has been mostly utilized as a second tight end, the 6’3″, 240-pounder is coming off a personal best 2019 season in which he caught 37 balls for 408 yards and two touchdowns. Furthermore, Everett averaged 11 yards per reception along with concluding the 2019 season with a solid 76.0 overall player grade from Pro Football Focus. Trading for Everett should not require parting with high-end capital and a combination of a late fourth with a seventh would be a reasonable price to pay.
New England’s offense looked good on Sunday, but the Patriots cannot be nearly as one dimensional when facing playoff-caliber teams. Adding a pass-catching tight end threat would force box defenders to respect the pass rather than fully commit to stopping the run. Additionally, a quality tight end would allow Edelman to face fewer double team looks along with taking a safety away from James White in man to man pass coverage. If Bill Belichick and the Patriots believe Newton can win them a Super Bowl, it is time to invest resources at the tight end position.