NFL News & Analysis

Baltimore Ravens trade CB Shaun Wade to New England Patriots

Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Shaun Wade (29) celebrates with cornerback Brandon Stephens (21) and Baltimore Ravens cornerback Davontae Harris (33) after interception a New Orleans Saints quarterback Ian Book (not pictured ) pass during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The cornerback-needy New England Patriots are close to acquiring 2021 fifth-round pick Shaun Wade in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport first reported Thursday.

The Ravens were loaded at cornerback, and the Patriots are thin at the position with 2019 NFL defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore still on the physically unable to perform list and locked in a contract dispute.

The Patriots have been starting Jalen Mills across from J.C. Jackson at cornerback. Slot corner Jonathan Jones was banged up in practice Thursday and appeared to favor his left foot or ankle. The Patriots also have 2019 second-round pick Joejuan Williams, 2019 fifth-round pick Mike Jackson Sr., 2020 undrafted free agent Myles Bryant and special-teamer Justin Bethel on their cornerback depth chart.

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Tough path to the field in Baltimore: Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Tavon Young, Jimmy Smith and Anthony Averett were all ahead of Wade on the cornerback depth chart in Baltimore. 

Wade perfect in the preseason: Wade has yet to allow a reception across 25 coverage snaps this preseason. He turned his lone target in coverage into an interception. 

Patriots cornerback depth chart before trade
Position Starters Reserves
Outside CB Stephon Gilmore Joejuan Williams
Outside CB J.C. Jackson Michael Jackson
Slot CB Jonathan Jones Jalen Mills

Brings slot and outside cornerback experience to New England: Wade recorded at least 300 coverage snaps in the slot (65.5 coverage grade) and out wide (68.4 coverage grade) at Ohio State from 2018 to 2020. In total, 88% of his coverage snaps have come outside this preseason. 

Wade unlikely to play outside in New England: Wade’s bottom line in the PFF 2021 NFL Draft Guide stated, “While we’ve never seen Wade play safety, that’s where he belongs in the NFL.” The Patriots ran dime personnel at a top-five rate in 2020, and it’s safe to assume that Bill Belichick will put Wade in positions to succeed in their secondary.

Shaun Wade snaps by alignment | 2021 preseason
Alignment Snaps
Outside cornerback 30
Slot cornerback 2
Box 1

New England held to a 9-game win total throughout the offseason but has seen continued buy-in on their over. The continued optimism for the Patriots is opposite to our season-long simulation, as New England to go under 9.5 wins at +105 is the best futures bet available at this time.

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