The New England Patriots can vault themselves back into the AFC East race with a win over the rival Buffalo Bills on Sunday. In the meantime, they’re preparing for the scenario where they drop three games below .500 and then turn at least part of their attention beyond 2020. According to Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer, the Pats have told other teams ahead of the Nov. 3 trade deadline “they’d listen” to offers for “almost anyone,” indicating a full-on rebuild is at least in consideration.
The team has been “quiet thus far,” Breer explained, but could be swayed to part with some of its best players if things don’t go as planned in Week 8. That includes All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who’s been speculated as a trade target recently. New England did have previous trade talks centered on the star defensive back before April’s draft, per Breer, and then again during training camp, before restructuring his contract and signaling to some teams that Gilmore was entering his last year with the Pats.
At present, Gilmore could probably net New England a bigger return than anyone else on the roster. Although the former Bills standout still has an additional season remaining on his five-year, $65 million deal, with a $17 million cap hit due in 2021, he’s also among the league’s top cover men — a three-time Pro Bowler and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
Starting guard Joe Thuney is another prominent Patriots veteran who could be available ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. The veteran has been floated in trade speculation before and is currently playing under the franchise tag.