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Agent’s Take: Should Patriots trade No. 3 pick? Potential deals New England should consider in 2024 NFL Draft

SportsAgent's Take: Should Patriots trade No. 3 pick? Potential deals New England should consider in 2024 NFL Draft


Quarterbacks are expected to be the first three picks of the 2024 NFL Draft. It’s a foregone conclusion that USC’s Caleb Williams will be selected first overall by the Chicago Bears. The Washington Commanders seem intent on taking a quarterback second overall. The options are LSU’s Jayden Daniels, UNC’s Drake Maye and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. For what it’s worth, Daniels is the heavy betting favorite to be the Commanders’ selection.

The 2024 Draft could start to get interesting with the third overall pick. New England Patriots director of scouting Eliot Wolf said last week at a press conference that the organization was “open for business” to trade the third overall pick in Thursday’s first round of the draft. He also said the he would be comfortable keeping the pick and presumably selecting a quarterback. 

Wolf, the de facto general manager, acknowledged there had been preliminary discussions with teams interested in moving up to No. 3 but a massive offer hasn’t been made. To date, the Patriots have reportedly received offers from teams that have been characterized as “laughable.” If this continues, the Patriots will be keeping the third pick.

The teams that are rumored to be interested in moving up to draft a quarterback are the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants. The Giants, Vikings, Broncos and Raiders, respectively, hold the sixth, 11th, 12th and 13th overall picks.

There are three trades in recent years involving the third pick that could be relevant in creating a basic framework for a deal. The Houston Texans obtained 2023’s third overall pick to select edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. and a 2023 fourth-round pick (105th overall) from the Arizona Cardinals last year in exchange for 2023’s 12th overall pick, a 2023 second-round pick (33rd overall), a 2024 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick.

The San Francisco 49ers moved up from the 12th overall pick in 2021 to the third pick for quarterback Trey Lance. In addition to the 2021’s 12th overall pick, the Miami Dolphins received a 2022 first-round pick, a 2022 third-pick and a 2023 first-round pick.

The New York Jets traded up three spots to the third overall pick to select quarterback Sam Darnold. The Colts received 2018’s sixth overall pick, a 2018 second-round pick (37th overall), a 2018 second-round pick (49th overall) and a 2019 second-round pick from the Jets.

A comparable offer may not be enough as the Patriots are reportedly looking for an unprecedented deal to give up the third pick. Here’s the type of blockbuster offer each of these teams could make that the Patriots shouldn’t refuse.

New York Giants (6th overall pick)

The Giants’ quarterback interest stems from there apparently being buyer’s remorse after giving 2019’s sixth overall pick, Daniel Jones, a four-year, $160 million contract worth up to $195 million through incentives and salary escalators in March 2023. Jones was ineffective last season prior to tearing the ACL in his right knee during a Week 8 contest versus the Las Vegas Raiders. 

The 2025 season is the first year the Giants can get out of Jones’ contract without adverse salary cap consequences. Obviously, trading Jones would be the ideal way to part with him next year. Absent a trade, Jones would need to be released before the middle of next March. That’s because $12 million of Jones’ $30 million 2025 base salary becomes fully guaranteed next March 16 on the fifth day of the 2025 league year. Out of this $30 million, $23 million was guaranteed for injury at signing.

The Giants are reportedly most interested in Maye. Offering their 2024 sixth overall pick, a 2024 second-round pick (47th overall) and a 2025 first-round pick would certainly get New England’s attention.

Minnesota Vikings (11th overall pick)

Sam Darnold was brought in as a bridge quarterback on a one-year, $10 million deal after Kirk Cousins received a four-year, $180 million contract, averaging $45 million per year with $100 million in guarantees, of which $90 million was fully guaranteed at signing, from the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. Getting a potential long-term solution at quarterback is a priority for the Vikings in this year’s draft. Minnesota’s likely target would be Maye at No. 3.

A willingness to give up 2024’s 11th overall pick, 23rd overall pick, a 2025 first-round pick and a 2025 fourth-round pick for 2024’s third overall pick would be a better haul than the Cardinals received from the Texans last year or the 49ers gave the Dolphins in 2021 from one spot lower than Vikings. The Patriots insisting on All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson should be a deal breaker for the Vikings. Losing an elite receiving talent wouldn’t be putting a young, developing quarterback in the best position to succeed. Having a starting quarterback on a cost-contained rookie contract is the type of situation where a team can most easily accommodate Jefferson as one of the league’s highest paid, if not the highest-paid non-quarterback.

Denver Broncos (12th overall pick)

The failed Russell Wilson experiment deprived the Broncos of premium draft picks over the last couple of years, as 2022 and 2023 first- and second-round picks were part of the acquisition cost to obtain Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks

Denver’s draft capital was further depleted in hiring head coach Sean Payton. Since Payton was still under contract with the New Orleans Saints, a trade was necessary for him to join the Broncos last season. Denver gave up a 2023 first-round pick (29th overall), 2024 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick for Payton. Because of this, it may make sense for the Broncos to include an accomplished young player in a trade for the third pick. 

Denver’s best young player is All-Pro cornerback Patrick Surtain II. He is under contract through 2025 with his fully guaranteed $19.802 million fifth-year option being exercised. Jalen Ramsey in 2019 was the last time a comparable cornerback on a rookie contract was traded. The Jacksonville Jaguars dealt Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams for a 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick during the middle of the 2019 season when he was in his fourth NFL season. Ramsey became the NFL’s first $20 million-per-year defensive back right before the 2020 regular season started. Like Ramsey, Surtain seems destined to become the NFL’s highest-paid defensive back — which is currently Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander at $21 million per year — when he signs a new deal.

Surtain and 2024’s 12th overall pick should be enough to move up to the third pick if the Ramsey trade compensation is any indication. The Patriots would be getting the equivalent of three first-round picks and a fourth-round pick by accepting 2024’s 12th pick and Surtain. The Jamal Adams trade supports this type of valuation. The Seahawks acquired the All-Pro safety at the start of training camp in 2020 when he was entering his fourth NFL season along with a 2022 fourth-round pick from the Jets for 2021 and 2022 first-round picks, a 2021 third-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald

At worst, the Broncos should be able to command a first-round pick and third-round pick in a standalone Surtain trade. This is the draft capital the Tennessee Titans received from the Philadelphia Eagles for wide receiver A.J. Brown during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Given the Patriots would need to receive a king’s ransom to move out of the third spot, Surtain, 2024’s 12th overall pick and a 2025 third-round pick would be necessary. Surtain’s valuation for this trade would be somewhere in between the two extremes, but closer to Ramsey than Brown.

Las Vegas Raiders (13th overall pick)

The Raiders moving up is predicated on Daniels still being available because of the Commanders going in another direction at No. 2. There’s a preexisting relationship between Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce and Daniels. Pierce was on Arizona State’s coaching staff during the three years Daniels was the Sun Devils’ starting quarterback (2019-2021). Determined to get Daniels, the Raiders put 2024’s 13th overall pick, a 2024 third-round pick (77th overall), a 2025 first-round pick and a 2026 first-round pick on the table for 2024’s third pick. This is essentially a slight premium over the Lance compensation due to the Raiders being a pick after where the 49ers were in 2021 when they moved up, factored into the equation.





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