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New England Patriots reportedly discussed blockbuster trade with NFC team about No. 3 pick

New England Patriots
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots hold the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, putting them at a pivot point that could dramatically alter the futures of two NFL franchises. After weeks of speculation over what the team will do with its top pick, trade talks appear underway.

Thanks to a game-winning field goal as time expired on Dec. 24 against the Denver Broncos, New England dropped from a top-two selection to No. 3 overall. With the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders ahead of them, it almost certainly takes the Patriots out of the running for Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

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However, it has sparked discussion over the team’s path in the NFL Draft. Led by executive Eliot Wolf, New England could roll the dice on quarterback Jayden Daniels, take standout wide receiver Michael Harrison Jr. or trade down with another team eyeing Daniels.

The Patriots have made it no secret they are willing to move down in the 2024 NFL Draft order if the right offer comes along. With trade talks around the league expected to ramp up at the NFL Combine, it appears New England is taking the first step towards potentially making a deal.

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During an appearance on the “Mackey and Judd” podcast, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News reported that the Minnesota Vikings spoke to the Patriots at the Senior Bowl about a trade for the No. 3 overall pick.

“Here’s what I was told: Down in Mobile, there was a seed planted with New England by the Vikings. Now, I’m not suggesting talks have advanced — it was one of those, ‘Hey, we’ll circle back to you (at the NFL Combine) — but that some sort of seed was planted in terms of, ‘Hey, is there even any interest on your front to move off that No. 3 pick?’ “

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There’s a strong argument for New England to drop down from the third overall pick. There are holes throughout the roster, especially on the offensive side of the ball. If the Patriots slide from the third pick into the 8-12 range, they could still snag an offensive tackle or wide receiver in Round 1 and pick up significant draft capital to fill out the roster.

In a scenario like this, Minnesota would likely. have to package its first- and second-round picks in 2024 and 2025 at a minimum, with the possibility of three first-round picks being required. While it’s a hefty price to pay, the Vikings’ desperation to find a long-term franchise quarterback could compel the front office to make the move. With multiple other teams trying to move up, New England would have even more leverage.

For now, these were just exploratory talks as the Vikings’ gauged the Patriots’ interest in moving down while New England got a read on Minnesota’s desire to jump up. Both teams will have representatives at the NFL Combine, so talks may resume this week.

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