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Patriots Spend Bye Week Improving Roster

After having a bye week to let their bodies heal, self scout, and make roster moves, the Patriots have two new faces on their defense and they may not be done yet.

Most NFL teams would rather have their bye week later in the season, but the NFL decides the timing of bye weeks and the teams have to plan accordingly, so as Bill Belichick always says, "it is what it is". In a way, the early bye week is good for this version of Patriots because when the season started, there were question marks on defense that were answered over the first three games. What the team discovered was a need for more depth at linebacker (trade for LB Jon Bostic) and defensive line (DE/DT Akiem Hicks) which they acquired through trades. This isn't the first time the Patriots have made in-season trades to bolster their roster, but typically they do it closer to the trade deadline. Apparently they felt these holes needed to be filled sooner, hence the trades before the first month was even over.

Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio are never done roster building and are always looking to upgrade, so Patriots fans should not be surprised if there are more trades down the line. They've been actively working out running backs all season, so clearly they see a need to upgrade that position. Although this is purely speculation, there is a chance the Patriots would be very interested if Bears running back Matt Forte were to become available. Another area they may want to upgrade is cornerback, but fans shouldn't expect to see a big splash like Aqib Talib because there simply isn't a player like him available. One player that would be a fit and may become available is Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph, a former 1st Round pick out of South Carolina.

Joseph spent his first five seasons with the Bengals before signing a huge contract with the Texans. He's started 122 of 131 career games and he's been productive throughout his entire career. Belichick's relationship with Bill O'Brien is the main reason why this trade would make sense, and with the Texans on their way to a top five pick, it makes sense to move on from some veterans who are looking to play for a winning team. One hindrance to trading for Joseph would be his contract; he resigned for three years in June and carries a significant cap hit that would have to be addressed if they were to make the move. His base salary for this season is seven million, and 6.5 million for 2016 and 2017; the Texans would have to absorb the hit for the bonus, but it may be worth it for them to clear space for the next two seasons considering they're in rebuilding mode.

Again, any additional trades are purely speculation at this point in time, but if players become available that could help the Patriots repeat as Super Bowl Champions, there is no question that Bill Belichick will jump at the chance to acquire them, assuming the price is right. Forte and Joseph are two players that would provide significant upgrades at positions in need, so don't be surprised of one of them is wearing a Patriots jersey after the trade deadline.

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