By now, you’ve probably heard the rumors of a Derrick Burgess trade to New England for a second or third round draft pick. However, what would a potential trade for Burgess mean for the Patriots?
For one, it would give the Patriots immediate insurance at outside linebacker. Burgess, 30, has 47.0 career sacks, most of which have come with the Oakland Raiders since 2005. He has played defensive end in the 4-3 his entire career, but could presumably make the switch to 3-4 outside linebacker. The 6’2″, 260 pound end, Burgess has just one year left on his contract at a reasonable price. However, the Patriots will probably keep in mind that Burgess had just 3.5 sacks in 10 games played last season (although I haven’t watched tape on the Raiders so I’m not really in a position to state that he wasn’t effective.
Currently, the Patriots have Adalius Thomas, Shawn Crable, Pierre Woods, Vince Redd, and Tully Banta-Cain under contract at outside linebacker. Burgess would certainly add experience, but would also add versatility. If the Patriots completed a trade for Burgess, and Crable, Woods, or Redd could step up to a certain extent, the Patriots would have the luxury of playing Adalius Thomas at some inside linebacker, where the Patriots need depth following the torn ACL of rookie Tyrone McKenzie. Worst case scenario? Both Thomas and Burgess play solely outside linebacker, which would seemingly be an upgrade from the current situation.
The Patriots have been discussing a trade with Burgess since before the draft, so I’m not sure a trade is imminent, although it very well could be close. My hunch? The Patriots complete the trade for a 2010 third round pick, as I think that is the middle ground between what the two sides are looking for.