In a somewhat surprising move, the New England Patriots traded a draft pick and offensive lineman Josh Kline to the Philadelphia Eagles for defensive back Eric Rowe. ESPN's Mike Reiss was the first to report on the transaction.
Additionally, according to Schefter, the Patriots and Eagles almost had a trade done for Eric Rowe last week before the 53-man roster had been set. Rowe is a 6-foot-1, 205 pound defensive back out of the University of Utah. He was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Last season, Rowe played in all 16 games, while starting five of them. Rowe offers a unique blend of versatility, being able to play the cornerback and safety position. As we all know, Belichick loves players with versatility, so it is not a surprise to anyone that he's obsessed with Rowe.
With Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon slated for free agency after this season, Bill Belichick can use some in-house leverage if they choose to negotiate with these two players, as well as soon-to-be-restricted free agent Malcolm Butler.
Now, lets get to what the Patriots had to give up in order to get Eric Rowe. First and foremost, the Pats will have to relinquish a fourth round draft pick, that could turn into a third round pick, depending on how much Rowe plays in the next two years. While the price is steep, Rowe is a young and athletic defensive player that has a ton of upside.
Losing Josh Kline hurts, but the Patriots came to camp with a plethora of offensive lineman and are shedding weight, while also gaining some valuable pieces. Kline was not going to start on this team, and his injury history forced the Patriots to sell when he still had value.
My best guess on the starting offensive line:
Nate Solder-Joe Thuney-David Andrews-Jonathan Cooper-Marcus Cannon
While it is debatable if the move helped the Patriots on the field, there is no question that this move helps them off the field. Check out Miguel over at Pats Cap for more detailed numbers, but what you really need to know is that moving on from Kline created over a $1 million in cap space. Could a move like this get the ball rolling on new deals for Jamie Collins, Dont'a Hightower and Malcolm Butler?
UPDATE (6:29 P.M. 9/6/16):
According to multiple reports, Josh Kline will not be included in a deal that will send Eric Rowe to the New England Patriots. Kline will remain the Patriots' property, which means he could play for the team in the future or be released. Additionally, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, the Patriots are still likely acquiring Eric Rowe, which means the trade may just include a draft pick heading to Philadelphia.
A lot of ideas have been thrown out there about what could have stalled this trade, and many are thinking it could mean that Kline failed his physical, which is required during any type of of transaction. Additionally, according to Ryan Hannable of WEEI, there was no trade listed on today's NFL transaction wire.
We will continue to update you as this story develops.
Update (7:18 P.M. 9/6/16)
According to CSNNE's Tom E. Curran, the Patriots have acquired Eric Rowe in exchange for a condition fourth round pick. Josh Kline was removed from the trade and, while the reason still remains unclear, it is not related to injury. Kline's future with the team is still very much up in the air and, similar to the Bryan Stork saga, this may not end well for the young guard.
As I mentioned above, including Kline in the deal for Eric Rowe would have saved the Patriots over $1 million in cap room, but acquiring a player of Rowe's skill set for just a draft pick is a great deal, nonetheless.