Tom Brady's extension could lead to Ryan Mallett trade

Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

With Tom Brady now locked up through the 2017 season, the Patriots could attempt to trade backup quarterback Ryan Mallett. Who could be a fit and what would the Patriots want in return?

With Tom Brady now signed through the 2017 season, there is some thought the Patriots will attempt to trade backup quarterback Ryan Mallett.

For more on the Patriots, visit Pats Pulpit

Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe wrote it's not a matter of if Mallett will be traded, but when. Mallett is signed through the 2014 season and, unless he's able to unseat Brady, wouldn't be in contention to start in New England until he was 30 years old. Instead, as Bedard writes, the Patriots are likely to attempt to trade Mallett while he is still on his rookie contract. This year's NFL Draft is considered to be a weak one for quarterbacks, and several teams are in the market. There is still some question as to what the Patriots would be able to get in return, however.

New England used a third-round pick on Mallett in 2011, and Bedard wrote the Patriots would likely want at least a second-round pick now, possibly even a first. That's a steep price to pay, even for quarterback-needy teams. The 24-year-old Mallett has appeared in four regular season games, but has thrown just four passes. He's played in two preseasons, but with mediocre results.

In eight preseason games, Mallett has completed 53 percent of his passes while averaging 5.05 yards per attempt. Those are far from results that will push teams to part with a high draft pick. Having done little to prove he is a capable starting quarterback in the NFL, Mallett would offer teams similar risk to any draft pick, while also being under contract for just two seasons.

Still, Mallett possesses the size and arm strength NFL teams covet. He fell in the draft due to off-the-field concerns, but he hasn't had any issues in two years with New England. If quarterback-needy teams like Arizona, Buffalo and Kansas City miss out on their targets, they could decide to make a run at Mallett. The Patriots, however, may need to get creative to make a deal work. Teams in search of a quarterback typically hold picks high in the first round and are unlikely to pay that steep of a price for the unproven Mallett. Instead, Mallett could be involved in a trade with multiple assets. The Patriots could move up in the draft using Mallett and picks as trade bait.

While a draft-day trade may be the most likely scenario, New England could deal Mallett at any time once the new league year begins on March 12.

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