The New England Patriots should start exploring the option of trading backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to salvage their 2017 NFL season, this according to CBS NFL writer Jason La Confora. The Pats suffered their second loss of the season at the hands of the Carolina Panthers, 33-30 on Sunday, and their porous defense was the biggest issue for Bill Belichick’s squad once again.

Garoppolo trade

La Confora believed the Patriots’ latest loss to the Panthers is an eye-opener that the defending Super Bowl champions no longer boast an elite defense. New England is ranked among the worst defenses in the NFL right now, allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 70 percent of their passes (99-of-142) for 1,343 yards, with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.

While Tom Brady remains a potent signal-caller (1,399 yards and 10 TDs in four games) at the age of 40, La Confora is convinced that the Patriots really need to bolster their defense if they want to extend their dynasty. Garoppolo apparently holds the key to their defensive resurgence this season.

Garoppolo, meantime, remains coveted and vaunted, still unblemished as a pro, and he could net Bill Belichick multiple young, fast, cheap and impactful defensive players in return,” the NFL pundit stressed.

La Confora mentioned a number of possibilities with Garoppolo as the main trade bait. He cited a trade with the QB-hungry San Francisco 49ers in exchange for defensive stalwart Arik Armstead or DeForest Buckner.

A deal to get Chandler Jones back from Arizona Cardinals was also suggested, as were transactions with division rivals like the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins - two AFC East teams that both possess intriguing defensive pieces on their respective rosters. The Patriots have until the end of October to make some moves on the trading front.

Injury update

The Patriots lost two key members of their defense on Sunday after linebacker Elandon Roberts and cornerback Eric Rowe suffered injuries.

Roberts, who sustained an ankle injury after he was ‘pancaked’ in one of Cam Newton’s scrambles, recorded five tackles against the Panthers. His injury only means more playing time for Marquis Flowers at linebacker.

Rowe hurt his groin the opening minute of the second half after trying to wrap up the Panthers’ Kelvin Benjamin on a reception. Jonathan Jones will get a closer look this week as a result of Rowe’s injury. Jones hasn’t made a big impact as a backup cornerback, recording just two tackles in their last game.