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NFL.com Predicts Justin Fields Trade to New England

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Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) plays against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter posted a three-round mock draft for the 2024 NFL Draft on the site. Who did Reuter have the New England Patriots selecting at No. 3 overall? Nobody. He has New England trading the pick to the Chicago Bears for quarterback Justin Fields. A breakdown and analysis of the deal that would land Fields in Foxboro.

The Trade

Reuter writes:

“In my forecast, the Bears send Fields to New England. The Patriots would swap first-round selections with Chicago this year and also give up a 2024 fourth-round pick and a conditional 2025 pick in the deal, similar to the trade between the Packers and Jets for Aaron Rodgers last year.”

So the New England Patriots wind up at No. 9 in the first round, where they select Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu. For Patriots fans hoping the team adds an offensive tackle, Fashanu is the second-ranked tackle behind only Notre Dame’s Joe Alt. New England would hold on to their selections in the second and third rounds.

In this scenario, quarterbacks Caleb Williams (Chicago) and Jayden Daniels (Washington) are the first two selections. So, New England would be passing on the likes of QB Drake Maye, WR Marvin Harrison Jr., and OT Joe Alt to make the deal.

The Analysis

Chad Reuter does not make the trade more appealing from the Patriots’ perspective by making a comparison to the Aaron Rodgers deal from a year ago. For starters, Justin Fields is not Aaron Rodgers. More importantly, the New England Patriots are not in the same position the New York Jets were a year ago. The Jets believed, accurately or not, they were a quarterback away from being a threat to win the Super Bowl. New England is not in the same position at the moment even if they were adding Rodgers instead of Fields.

Unlike a rookie quarterback (Drake Maye at No. 3 in this scenario, or either Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr. who are both going in Round 2 of Reuter’s projection) Justin Fields is about to make a lot of money. His fifth-year option for 2025 would be nearly $22 million and he would be eligible to become a free agent after that. New England would be forced to pay big to retain him beyond 2025 if Fields shows himself worthy of being considered a franchise player.

If the New England Patriots are not interested in the quarterback that falls to them at three in the draft, trading down should certainly be a consideration. But is trading for Justin Fields the best use of their trade assets and money? With a plethora of needs on New England’s roster, the answer from this perspective, in that deal, appears to be no.

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