BILLINGS, N.J. — The Patriots have a “b-team” in place for a potential trade deadline, according to several people with knowledge of the team’s thinking.
The Patriots, who will be seeking a trade deadline deal for linebacker Jonathan Freeny, would like to send Freenies $9.25 million over the next two seasons to get the 30-year-old Freenys contract up to $18.5 million, according the sources.
New England will also receive a first-round pick in a trade for Freenym’s services, according one of the sources, and the Patriots would like the draft pick to come in the form of a future third-round draft pick.
Sources say the Patriots’ goal is to get a deal done for Flynys.
Sources said the Patriots have made it clear that they want to trade Freens and have had no intention of letting the situation escalate into something more serious, although they have had conversations about it in the past.
This would be a first time the Patriots and Freensy have discussed the possibility of trading Freen.
The situation in the AFC East is extremely volatile.
If the Patriots trade Fournys, the Jets would become the clear favorites to replace him.
New York has not yet made a decision, but the Jets have been linked to the Patriots in trade rumors.
Freenyp’s agent, Joel Barlow, told ESPN last week that his client has not spoken with the Jets and that he doesn’t expect a trade to happen.
New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis is believed to have been involved in a similar trade involving the Patriots, and Fennys name has been mentioned as one of several options for the Saints, who have been in the market for a cornerback.
New coach Sean Payton has made it known he would like a return to New England, but Payton also wants to find a way to get Freenyss to stay.
The Saints have been trying to get him to come to New Orleans, but it has not been easy.
The Dolphins have also been interested in Freenye, but Freenyi has been reluctant to agree to the deal.
He is scheduled to make $4.4 million in 2017 and $5.1 million in 2018.
The New York Jets also have interest in Fynys and the New England Patriots have been looking for help at linebacker.
Fawny was a four-time Pro Bowler and was a first round pick in 2012.
He had 39 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and nine interceptions last season.
Fenny has five sacks this season.