As the Patriots began the work of trimming their roster to 53 players, the team made a pair of trades Friday.
New England traded cornerback Duke Dawson to the Denver Broncos, a league source confirmed, and acquired center Russell Bodine from the Bills in a rare trade with an AFC East rival.
The Patriots will receive a sixth-round draft pick in 2020 from the Broncos in exchange for Dawson and a seventh rounder, according to the league’s transaction wire. The Patriots drafted Dawson out of Florida in the second round in 2018. Dawson began last season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. He was activated in November, but never played a snap.
Cornerback is one of the Patriots’ deepest positions and it seemed as if Dawson was on the outside looking in. Dawson played late into Thursday’s 31-29 home loss to the Giants, making three tackles and grabbing an interception.
The Patriots have a glut of talent in cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Joejuan Williams, Jonathan Jones, and Keion Crossen, who outperformed Dawson in training camp and the preseason.
The move to acquire Bodine is unusual. It’s the first trade Bill Belichick has made with the Bills since shipping away Drew Bledsoe in April 2002, and just the fifth trade the Patriots have made with a division opponent since Belichick became head coach in 2000.
For Bodine, the Patriots gave up a 2020 sixth-round pick, which was acquired this week from the Ravens in the Jermaine Eluemunor deal. Bodine, 27, has made 74 starts at center over six seasons. Bodine played in Cincinnati from 2014-17, starting all 16 games in each of those seasons.
Bodine started 10 games last season for the Bills, who got center Mitch Morse back Thursday night after he was in the concussion protocol for more than a month.
The trade for Bodine was the third the Patriots have made for an offensive lineman this week. They also acquired tackle Korey Cunningham from the Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon.
The Patriots have retooled the offensive line after starting center David Andrews was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs. He is expected to miss a significant amount, if not all, of the season. Ted Karras, the team’s top interior backup, became the starter, putting the Patriots in the market for depth at guard and center. That need increased when rookie Hjalte Froholdt was injured Thursday night.
In fact, the Bodine-to-New England deal is just the fifth trade the #Patriots have made with a division opponent since Belichick took over in '00. 3 with MIA, 2 with BUF and none with the NYJ, per @pfref. (Thinking they pretty much gave up after the Welker acquisition in '07.)— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) August 30, 2019
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According to reports, the Patriots got a jump-start on cuts Friday, informing several players that they’d be waived. None of those cuts were on the NFL’s transaction wire Friday afternoon, so they’ll likely be processed Saturday, along with the rest of the cuts.
Offensive linemen Tyree St. Louis, Tyler Gauthier, and Cedrick Lang, tight end Andrew Beck, defensive tackle David Parry, receiver Ryan Davis, and safety A.J. Howard were reportedly waived. All had long, uphill climbs to make the roster.
That left the Patriots with 22 cuts to make before the 4 p.m. deadline.
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A reduction in the number of preseason games — perhaps as a means of offsetting additional games in the playoffs or, possibly, regular season — is an idea that has come up in recent meetings between the NFL and NFLPA as they work toward a new collective bargaining agreement.
It has seemed like there’s support behind the idea, and some coaches have advocated for a shortened preseason. Most have contributed to the main reason owners are amenable to the idea – that the games are boring and a bad product — by rarely playing their better-known players.
“You absolutely don’t need four preseason games,” Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said this month. “I’d rather have zero than four, preferably I’d like two. One to evaluate the people trying to make the team and then just one to knock a little rust off.”
Belichick might feel otherwise, though.
“The more games you play, the more opportunities you have,” Belichick said. “Look at the Giants [Thursday], you want to go ahead and cut out this game then go ahead and cut it out. It gave [Kyle] Lauletta a chance to play half the game. It gave [Alex] Tanney a chance to play half the game and gave [Daniel] Jones a chance to play.
“If you want to get rid of the game then go ahead and get rid of the game, and then don’t play those guys. Do whatever you want on that.