New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns Complete Intriguing Player Swap

The NFL is rapidly approaching the regular season, and that means teams are doing everything they can to round out their opening-day rosters. That includes the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns, who completed the rare player-for-player trade on Sunday. The Patriots acquired offensive tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr. A tight end in college, Wheatley Jr. converted to tight end in the pros and has bounced around rosters and practice squads since 2021, making stops with the Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders before landing with the Browns in 2022. He has yet to play a regular-season snap.

In exchange for Wheatley, the Browns walk away with second-year running back Pierre Strong. A 2022 fourth-round pick, Strong turned heads at NFL Combine with an exceptional 4.37 40-yard dash at 5-11, 207 lbs. He was also remarkably productive on extremely limited snaps as a rookie, rushing 10 times for 100 yards and nabbing all seven of his targets for 42 yards.

Strong clearly must have become a victim of the numbers game in New England. Following the acquisition of running back Ezekiel Elliot, the Patriots must not have been able to envision a scenario in which Strong could have received significant snaps.

Still, it's a little bit startling to see the Patriots cut bait on a player with so much promise so quickly. Unless the Patriots know something we don't, Strong should be able to provide valuable depth behind All-Pro running back Nick Chubb. Given his explosiveness and youth, Strong still has high upside and the potential to be an effective complementary back.
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