The NFL’s trade deadline has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean teams won’t be able to make upgrades to their rosters in other ways.

Following news of Odell Beckham Jr.’s release from the Cleveland Browns Friday, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked what the team’s approach would be if such a “top-caliber player” became available.

Belichick cited New England’s trade for Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib in the 2012 season as an example of the team making a midseason splash, although that occurred prior to the deadline.

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The Patriots have brought in notable free agents midstream in the past, from a reunion with LeGarrette Blount midway through the 2014 season to signing James Harrison with one week left in the 2017 season. Signing Steven Jackson late in the 2015 season or bringing back Junior Seau midway through the 2008 and 2009 seasons would also apply.

While Beckham undoubtedly fits the bill of a high-profile player, he’s performed like anything but one through six games with the Browns this season. A Pro Bowler in each of his first three NFL seasons with the New York Giants, Beckham had 17 catches for 232 yards and no touchdowns prior to his release.

Beckham, who celebrates his 29th birthday Friday, is subject to waivers. Should he pass through, he’s free to sign anywhere.


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