FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - We are a little under a month away before the New England Patriots coaches begin to evaluate the talent they have on their roster during training camp. This year's roster is loaded with talent, which will make positions like outside linebacker, wide receiver, running back and defensive end very hard to shave down when it's time to cut players.
Luckily, New England can also trade players before the 53-man rosters need to be finalized, which will give them an opportunity to gain some assets for players that are talented but either don't fit what they are looking for or will just get lost in the depth chart.
Let's take a look at three Patriots that could be traded before Week 1 of the regular season.
3) Brian Hoyer
The Patriots currently have four quarterbacks on their roster, which includes Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham, and Danny Etling. Since New England likely wants to develop their young QBs, it may be time to part ways with 33-year-old Hoyer, who has some value as a serviceable backup.
In case you have forgotten, Hoyer did have a bit of success as a starter in the NFL when he played for the Bears and Texans. But injuries stunted any chance of his success continuing, which is why he ended up back on the Patriots roster backing up Brady.
If there is a team out there with a young QB who could use a mentor and an emergency option at the position, Hoyer should be a trade target for them.
2) Duke Dawson
Cornerback Duke Dawson's rookie season was shortlived after being put on injured reserve very early in the season. The best ability is availability in Bill Belichick's eyes, and with a bunch of cornerbacks on the roster that were available in 2018, that means Dawson may not be a Patriot for much longer.
Dawson's ability out of college made him a valuable asset to New England's secondary. But with the progression of JC Jackson, Jonathan Jones, and Keion Crossen last season, that value may not be as strong as it once was.
Dawson's strength as a slot receiver could make him a viable trade piece in late August, which means he may be hitting the refresh button with another franchise before September comes.
1) Rex Burkhead
As it stands, New England has seven running backs on their roster. Based on talent and their 2018 production, Sony Michel, Damien Harris, Brandon Bolden, and James White are locks to make the roster. Since the Patriots will likely not carry more than four RBs, that leaves Rex Burkhead, Nick Brossette and Jakob Johnson (who is technically a fullback but listed as an RB on the roster) as the running backs who won't make the final 53.
Burkhead is by far the most talented of the bunch, and his contract has him locked through 2021. There is surely a team out there that could use his versatility out of the backfield, so finding a trade suitor shouldn't be that hard to find. Trading Burkhead for a late-round pick seems like the most likely option on this list.