Rumor Mill: Trade Possibilities, Another WR?

Is Joey Galloway on the trading block? Will the Patriots acquire another receiver? What about the linebacker situation. How much is Shawne Merriman worth. We track down the latest trade rumors leading up to today's 4pm deadline.

Are the Patriots considering adding another receiver via trade? Some speculation has been hitting the street that the Patriots might give up one wideout for another with a previous history with the team.

Joey Galloway -- It's no surprise that the Patriots have been keeping Joey Galloway on the team as an insurance policy - an expensive one. Can they afford to keep him with his 1.7 million salary if he's going to be inactive? According to numerous reports, the Patriots are shopping Galloway looking for a potential suitor prior to the trade deadline. One team that may be interested is the Baltimore Ravens.

Don't expect Baltimore, or any other suitor to pony up big money for Galloway who is soon to be 38. The attraction foe teams looking at Galloway is that while New England is on the hook for his signing bonus (reportedly $600K), another team runs less risk paying him a pro-rated salary of a little over $1 million. Still, it would be cheaper to wait for him to be released by the Patriots.

Deion Branch - Speculation continues that the Patriots may want to dump Galloway and add former Tom Brady favorite Deion Branch. Branch's $4.9 million salary makes this trade a virtual impossibility. New England has around $5 million in total cap space. The past thing they would want to do is to trade for a player with a high cap number. According to one source in Seattle, the Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell isn't about to admit he made a mistake with Branch.

Adalius Thomas - Don't read too much into the benching of Adalius Thomas and trade rumors. With a cap number of over $8 million, there's no way Thomas is going anywhere via trade. The Patriots don't have the space to move him. Thomas' role has been reduced due to his inability to wither apply pressure, or work within the parameters of what the Patriots need. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick admitted, it's just one game, and things could (as we expect) change.

Julius Peppers - As the preseason reports indicated, the Patriots might just be interest in Carolina Panthers DE Julius Peppers. But at his current price tag of over $15 million, Peppers isn't going to Foxboro. Working under a one-year franchise deal, the Panthers may not be able to re-sign their top defensive lineman. With his play this season, they may not want to. Peppers has struggled to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He is often drawing single blocking assignments and yet still unable to beat his man. Even hearing from his own teammates.

Shawn Merriman - Adam Schefter hypnotized that Merriman could be a good fit in New England.

According to Michael Lombardo, Merriman may not be worth acquiring based upon his recent performance:

"Merriman is a shell of the player who racked up 29.5 sacks in 27 games between 2006 and 2007. He lacks explosion off the edge and doesn't have to same leg-drive to overpower linemen and push them back into the quarterback. And all of this was before he injured his groin in Week 2, an ailment that has limited him to just a handful of snaps over the previous two games combined. The bye week has helped Merriman recover, but he's still only about 80 percent.

Merriman has played selfish ball, chasing sacks at the expense of his responsibilities against the run -- although he's yet to record a sack this season. He's also hurt his stock by creating far too many off-the-field distractions. The Chargers continue to give extended run to Merriman's backup, first-round pick Larry English, and will elevate English into the starting lineup once Merriman's contract expires after the season.

The deadline is 4pm today. So if New England is going to make a move, they cannot afford to waste more cap space by trading players with big cap charges, not when they still have Logan Mankins, Jarvis Green and Vince Wilfork to re-sign for 2010.

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