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2013 NFL Trade Deadline: 5 Players the New England Patriots Should Call About

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2013 NFL Trade Deadline: 5 Players the New England Patriots Should Call About

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots are in a familiar place at 5-2 through week 7, but also are in an unfamilar place where they are being doubted. They have had control of the AFC East for over a decade now and are in the driver's seat to continue that dominance. The one constant they have had is the play of Quarterback Tom Brady.

If you take away the 2000 and 2008 seasons where he threw a combined 14 passes, he has averaged 30 Touchdown passes per season. Brady has never thrown less than 18 TDs in a season and he has never completed less than 60 percent of his passes. However, in 2013 Brady is on pace to throw 17 TDs and is currently completing 55 percent of his passes.

Brady has won with no big named receivers before. He went to the AFC Championship game with Reche Caldwell, Troy Brown and Doug Gabriel as his top three receivers. During the 2013 offseason, the Patriots let Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch and Danny Woodhead leave. They replace those guys with rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins along with free agents Danny Amendola and LeGarrette Blount. They also lost Tight End Aaron Hernandez to prison and have had Rob Gronkowski out until last week.

The lack of consistent receivers could be blamed for Brady's slow start or it could just be him beginning to decline. In a season where he is not performing, the Patriots defense has stepped up to hold it together. Although they rank towards the bottom of the league in yards per game against, the Patriots are fifth in points against per game. Opposing teams are scoring only 18.1 points against them and have turned the ball over 13 times.

Even though they are performing well, injuries to Defensive Tackle Vince Wilfork and Linebacker Jerod Mayo will keep them out for the season and will test their depth for the next nine games. With a lack of fire power on offense and an injury depleted defense, the Patriots are going to have to acquire help at the trade deadline if they would like to be a serious contender in January.

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5. Kenny Britt

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Throughout his career, Kenny Britt has averaged 15.7 yards per catch for the Tennessee Titans. That average would lead all Patriot receivers and give them they big play ability that Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola lost. He has fallen out of favor in Tennessee and could be had for a late round draft pick. Bill Belichick has a history of taking a gamble on guys like this for the right price and it is a low risk move.

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4. Jared Allen

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Chandler Jones has had a great start to his second year in the NFL, but has been the only consistent pass rusher on New England. Adding a proven Defensive End like Jared Allen would give them one of the top duos in the NFL and allow them to go into a deep rotation on pass rushing situations. Allen would not come cheap and may not be available, but with the Minnesota Vikings struggling it wouldn't hurt to call.

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3. Hakeem Nicks

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His first three years in the league, Hakeem Nicks averaged eight Touchdowns per season. He was injured in 2012 which caused a huge dip in his numbers and hasn't been much better in 2013. A change of scenery and playing for a QB like Tom Brady could be the exact thing he needs to get back on track. He is a free agent at the end of the year and the New York Giants could be looking to get something for him before he leaves. The Patriots could give him a nine-game tryout and if he meshes with Brady they could offer him a long-term contract at the end of the year.

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2. Kevin Williams

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The New England Patriots have been piecing it together since Vince Wilfork was lost for the season. Acquiring a Pro-bowler like Kevin Williams would allow them to put everyone back in the role they are more comfortable with. The 311-pound Williams is one of the best run stoppers in the league and has a knack for knocking the ball down at the line of scrimmage. He is currently tied for the team lead in Pass Defended with three on the season and has an interception.

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1. Tony Gonzalez

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This offense was built around having two Tight Ends. Rob Gronkowski is back from his injury and Tony Gonzalez would perfect to take over the role left by Aaron Hernandez. Gonzalez doesn't want to leave Atlanta, but the thought of making the postseason and having a chance to go out on top may change his mind. If the Patriots were to get Gonzalez, they would only need to play two receivers at a time and their lack of depth at that position would be of less importance.