Typical New England Patriots.
After he had done a good job protecting the blind side of Tom Brady for seven season, the Patriots refused to get into a bidding war for left tackle Nate Solder. Instead, they let him hit the open market where Solder, of course, cashed in via a four-year, $62.5 million deal ($34.8 million guaranteed) from the New York Giants.
The Patriots? They did another very Patriot-like thing, trading for an inexpensive player who had played only three games at left tackle in three seasons to take Solder’s place.
A third-round pick was the price for getting right tackle Trent Brown from the San Francisco 49ers. New England installed Brown and his $1.907 million salary at left tackle, where he made them forget all about Solder.
Thing is, the 25-year-old Brown can be an unrestricted free agent in March and the Patriots aren’t in the habit of paying big money to keep players. They know that somehow they always manage to find capable replacements, so why would they?
Age: 26 in April
Experience: 4 seasons
Height: 6-foot-8 | Weight: 380
Pro Football Focus: Overall grade (70.6) | Pass blocking (70.9) | Run blocking (64.6) | 3 sacks and 37 pressures allowed
PFF ranked Brown No. 26 on its list of the top 50 available free agents. Their endorsement wasn’t exactly a glowing one:
Brown had a fantastic season switching from right tackle in San Francisco to left tackle in New England, but he’s not without worry. Offensive linemen don’t have the greatest track record leaving line coach Dante Scarnecchia and Tom Brady’s quick release. Brown still struggled against some quicker rushers as well, most notably Jerry Hughes and Yannick Ngakoue.
Before being acquired by the Patriots, Brown had developed a reputation with the San Francisco 49ers for not having a tremendous work ethic.
“That was the word of mouth or whatever,” Brown said. “Even before I got drafted, people said I don’t work hard. I’m just a quiet guy. I’m not a rah-rah guy. I show up to work. I’m not here to make friends or anything like that. I’m doing the same thing here that I’ve been doing. I feel like if it’s good enough for this type of organization, it should be good enough anywhere.”
Brown admits that he does not spend a lot of time watching film, but he said he is more concerned about honing his craft and making the opposition adjust to him.
“I feel like I don’t need to watch film,” he said. “I play my game and use the techniques my coaches teach me and be able to work on daily. And people have to come play Trent Brown.”
Question is, when people come to play the mammoth Brown in 2019, will he be with New England or elsewhere?
That might come down to whether the Patriots are willing to do something they don’t often do — pay big money to keep a player off the market.
If he hits the market, could he be in play for the Giants? The Giants have Solder at left tackle, so that might depend on whether Brown is OK with going back to the right side. And whether the Giants are willing to pay him left tackle money to do so.
Honestly, I believe the possibility of Brown ending up with the Giants is a slim one. Still, it’s worth discussing.