The NFL Draft is still weeks away, yet it is already shaking up to be one of the most interesting drafts in recent memory. The first three picks are guaranteed to be quarterbacks, which means that the fourth-overall pick is in heavy demand. Several quarterback-needy teams are reportedly interested in trading up, but the New England Patriots might not be one of them. According to NFL rumors originating from Mike Lombardi, the Patriots do not like Justin Fields or Trey Lance enough to trade up for their services.
NFL Rumors: New England Patriots Won’t Trade Up For Justin Fields, Trey Lance
Speaking on the GM Shuffle podcast, former NFL executive Mike Lombardi said that the Patriots “don’t have [Fields or Lance] graded high enough” to justify a trade-up. For that matter, Lombardi went on to say that he “doesn’t think” the team likes Fields at all and “doesn’t know” if the team likes Lance.
Lombardi has ties throughout the NFL, but his connections are probably strongest in New England. A Bill Belichick disciple, Lombardi worked with the eight-time Super Bowl champion back in Cleveland and spent 2014-2016 serving as a coaching assistant with the Patriots. These two obviously have a long history together, which makes this report all the more intriguing.
New England reportedly was one of the teams contacting the Atlanta Falcons regarding a trade-up scenario, but it’s entirely possible the price is just too high. San Francisco gave up three first-round picks for the right to the third-overall pick, and it’s entirely possible that Atlanta is asking for a similar package. Perhaps New England takes one of the quarterbacks if they fall to 15, but they might not want to mortgage their future for a guy they’re unsure about.
Could This Be A Smokescreen?
Of course, there is a chance that Lombardi is lying through his teeth. Everyone is lying during the buildup to the NFL Draft, leaking false information to the media with the intention of improving their own drafts. Lombardi’s close connection with Belichick makes this a very possible smokescreen, and it wouldn’t be the first time Belichick has used Lombardi’s media outlet to help acquire a player.
Prior to the 2018 NFL Draft, Lombardi reportedly that multiple teams were concerned about a bone-on-bone condition in Michel’s knee. At the time, the Georgia running back was widely regarded as a late first-round pick, and the Patriots obviously had an interest in Michel as a prospect. This report very well could have helped Michel slide to 31, as the Seattle Seahawks took Rashad Penny with the 27th overall pick.
History could be repeating itself, as the Patriots do not have a clear option at the quarterback position. Cam Newton will be better with an improved supporting cast, but he is not the long-term answer under center. It’s highly unlikely that any of the top-five quarterbacks fall all the way to 15, so Belichick could be using Lombardi to try and lower the cost of a potential trade.
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