The New England Patriots are still figuring out what to do with cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who could be traded for a haul of picks and players if New England is unable to come together on any sort of agreement on a long-term contract.
With his status up in the air (as well as whatever’s going on with his recovery from a season-ending quad injury), Bill Belichick decided to add a little insurance.
With either veteran Cam Newton or rookie in Mac Jones in line to start at quarterback, Belichick needs to make sure that defensive secondary is as deep as possible, and the Gilmore situation (among other things) has prompted the need to get some more high-ceiling young depth.
Former Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade has emerged as one of the best defensive backs in the preseason, as his skill in the slot appears to show that he’s moving past what was a very rocky final season in Columbus.
Taking advantage of the Baltimore Ravens‘ logjam at the cornerback position, New England pounced, reportedly getting another backup that could be pressed into service without Gilmore.
Ian Rapoport says the Patriots are close to acquiring a 2021 fifth-round pick in Wade from the Ravens. With one of the stars of the preseason about to come to New England, could the added depth facilitate a Gilmore trade? Or could it mean Gilmore won’t be ready in time for Week 1 since he’s yet to even step foot on the practice field?
What impact does Shaun Wade trade have on Patriots’ CB depth chart?
Before the draft, Wade was considered by many to be the best cornerback in the draft, as the former top recruit was dominant at times for the Buckeyes. However, after Wade struggled immensely with the transition from slot cornerback to outside cornerback, his stock fell to the point Baltimore was able to grab him in the fifth round.
Per Pro Football Focus, Wade was immaculate during the preseason. He and former Oregon star Deommodore Lenoir put up a Blutarsky by allowing a 0.0 passer rating. That sort of thing doesn’t happen by accident, and it showed that Wade had put a very difficult season behind him.
Even if Gilmore stays and is able to play from the jump, Wade will likely compete with Joejuan Williams and Myles Bryant for dime package snaps. Belichick loves players that can be as active and feisty at the line of scrimmage as Wade.
If Gilmore gets traded, look for Belichick to stick with Jackson as CB1 while Mills moves up to the other outside corner spot. Wade might be able to earn some slot snaps in this arrangement.
The Patriots are typically wizards when evaluating later round talents, which is what Wade ended up being. Though the Ravens feel they have better defensive backs on their stacked roster, that doesn’t mean the Patriots’ belief that Wade can carve out a role for himself on this defense is invalid. Plus, if he starts to turn heads, the Gilmore situation will be much less of a worry for fans, right?