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Assessing Patriots' chances at making a trade before deadline

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Let's go "three and out" with some of the hot New England Patriots-based topics on Twitter:

Harley, the trade deadline is today at 4 p.m. ET, and Bill Belichick sounded like someone ready to wheel and deal. "We're always open to discussions. I think everybody in the league probably knows that our phone lines are open," he said on sports radio WEEI. That's not a surprise based on his recent history. One of the biggest challenges is that the top position I think they'd be interested in addressing, cornerback, is one where the supply isn't overflowing. A second challenge is that in a lot of these deals, the team acquiring the player has to take on some salary (e.g. Patriots with defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga in 2013, where they assumed a $1 million guarantee in 2014 as well) and have the cap space to do so. The Patriots are tight to the cap. Anything is possible, but those factors might make it more difficult for the team to strike a deal. The Patriots (7-0) and Broncos (7-0) are two of the three elite teams currently in the AFC, so any move by Denver is worthy of a closer look here in New England. I don't see any downside for the Broncos. They aren't giving up anything significant compensation-wise, and will be able to restock those picks through compensatory selections. I don't think the acquisition shifts the balance of power in the AFC or anything like that, but it should make the Broncos tougher to defend. So that's a solid move and one they can make because they have some financial flexibility to take on Vernon Davis' contract (prorated base salary of $4.35 million). Jeff, linebacker Jonathan Bostic was acquired in a trade from the Bears on Sept. 29, was inactive for his first game with the team, and has played in three games since. He was exclusively a special teamer in the first two games, and then played 17 defensive snaps in last Thursday's win over the Dolphins, all coming later in the game. He's still acclimating to the system and all the checks and communication. The other thing to consider is that the Patriots play a lot with just two linebackers on the field -- Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower. When they've called on a third linebacker, it's been Jonathan Freeny first, then Jerod Mayo. So Bostic currently represents depth on defense and a core player on special teams.