Foxborough, MA — Despite being 5-2, the New England Patriots front office decided to make changes to the defensive side of their roster.

The San Francisco 49ers let the league know that they were looking for additional veteran defensive players that could provide leadership their young team. The Patriots gave them a call and both sides were able to swap players that helped both teams. The 49ers were interested in veterans, CB Jason McCourty and DT Malcom Brown. Both experienced players that were on the last year of their contracts.

The Patriots were known to have an interest in developing younger players who haven’t lived up to their potential. They saw something in CB Ahkello Witherspoon and RE Solomon Thomas that they were offering to give up two quality starters for. Both franchises were able to agree to a trade that would send McCourty and Brown to the 49ers and Witherspoon and Thomas to the Patriots. The 49ers will also include a 2019 7th round pick. However, there is also a trade condition for where the Patriots might earn an upgrade and additional pick. If the 49ers were able to resign both players, then the Patriots would get a bump to a 2019 4th round pick and a 2020 6th round pick.

During Witherspoon and Thomas’ introductory press conferences, both young stars were excited to have a fresh start.

Witherspoon: “First off, let me pay my respects to Richard Sherman. It was an honor to play alongside him and he taught me a lot. Now, I am excited for the next chapter of my life as a Patriot. I’ve heard a lot of things such as the Patriot way, and I’m all in for it as long as we can get a ring.”

Thomas: “A big thank you to the 49ers organization for drafting me out of Stanford. It’s been a great experience. I understand that being traded is part of the game, so there’s no hard feelings. I enjoyed my time in the Bay Area, but now I have to get used to wearing multiple layers because it’s going to be cold in Foxborough. I’m excited to continue my career as the Patriots.”