The Assault on Banner 7 Begins With the Patriots First Big Acquistion of 2021

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Source - The Patriots are making a big splash in advance of free agency, bringing back a familiar face to do it.

 New England is expected to trade for Raiders offensive tackle Trent Brown, sources say, with the two sides coming together on a deal that was a few weeks in the making.

 Brown has reworked his deal, agreeing to a new one-year, $11 million contract as part of the agreement, per sources, allowing him to be a free agent after the 2021 season. Previously, he had two years and 29.5 million left on his Las Vegas contract.

The teams will be swapping draft picks as part of the deal, sources say, with the Raiders receiving a 2022 fifth-round pick in exchange for Brown and a 2022 seventh-round pick.

And so it begins. The proverbial first step on the metaphorical journey of a thousand miles back to respectability for the Patriots. And of course it's GM Bill doing a very GM Bill thing. Getting a solid building block type of player at an area of need for practically nothing. And signing him to a bargain price.

For Trent Brown, his motivation is obvious. He had the best year of his career in New England and wants to return to play for the coach who made him rich. He comes back on a one-year Prove It deal because the last time he came in one-year Prove It deal he became the full time left tackle on a Super Bowl champion. And got four years and $66 million out of Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden as a reward. But things didn't work out for him with the Raiders. After taking 1,354 snaps at LT in 2018 - by far his career high - he switched back to the RT spot he played for the 49ers at the beginning of his career. And his snaps fell off to 594 and just 283 last season. So like Young Skywalker flying back to Dagobah, Brown has returned to complete his training under Jedi Master Belichick. 

For the Patriots, this is a tremendous upgrade, just two seasons removed from the last time Brown gave them a tremendous upgrade on the O-line. In his one season in Foxboro, pressed into duty when rookie LT Isaiah Wynn blew out his Achilles in a preseason game, he took over as the anchor of the line and never relinquished the job. He took 744 snaps as a pass blocker and gave up just three sacks and 39 total pressures. As a unit, the 2018 Pats' line earned Pro Football Focus' sixth highest grade in pass protection and fourth overall run blocking. Last season, albeit with a very different quarterback and style of offense, they fell to 15th pass blocking and sixth in the run game.

So Brown's presence is a significant addition. It gives them flexibility. It gives them a way to absorb potential losses of free agents Joe Thuney and David Andrews. Wynn was primarily a guard at Georgia. Michael Onwenu was a drafted as a guard of out Michigan, eventually tried his hand at RT when Marcus Cannon opted out and his replacements like Jermaine Eluemenor and Justin Herron struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness. And he was a miracle. Like I've said before, the best sixth round pick out of Michigan in Patriots history. 


But now you can easily see a scenario where they let say, Thuney leave in free agency rather than pay him the Franchise money he got last year. Either Wynn or Onwenu replace him. They sign David Andrews. And then they've dealt themselves a hand of Brown, Wynn, Onwenu, Cannon and Shaq Mason to fill four spots. Or simply discard Andrews too and play those five cards. Which is a winning hand as far as I'm concerned. And will free them up to spend money to shore up other areas of need. 

That's the effect of this trade. And it's made even better by the classic GM Bill-ishness of it all. He let Brown walk in 2019, took the 3rd round compensatory pick (which was either the 98th or the 100th overall; one was for Brown and the other for losing Trey Flowers and nobody understands the formula for that secret sauce) and made a bunch of trades with it. Now he gets Brown back for next to nothing. And this frees him up to lose another free agent and acquire another 3rd round pick next year as this amusement park ride just keeps spinning. 

And one last point: Trent Brown is just 27. Thuney and Andrews are both 28. 

Big move by GM Bill. Big, big move.