The Patriots may not be done making deals.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network (via Kevin Patra), teams have been reaching out to New England about a possible N’Keal Harry trade. The report comes at a time when the wide receiver’s stock is at a low point. The former first-round pick in the 2019 draft has simply not lived up to those expectations.
Harry’s Patriots career got off to an inauspicious start when he spent the first half of his rookie year on injured reserve. From there, other than intermittent flashes, he never gelled with Tom Brady then showed marginal improvement at best in 2020. Through two seasons in the NFL, Harry has posted a 16-game average of just 33 catches, 315 yards, and three touchdowns.
That’s simply not good enough for a wideout who was selected with the 32nd overall pick. It’s not Harry’s fault that the Patriots selected him where they did. But entering the draft, he was generally considered in the same class as other receivers, drafted after him, who have been more productive. The most prominent examples are D.K. Metcalf with the Seattle Seahawks, A.J. Brown with the Tennessee Titans, Terry McLaurin with the Washington Football Team, and Diontae Johnson with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s fair to assess Harry in the Patriots offense as something of a square peg in a round hole. If the Pats want to continue to run an offense based on timing and reading defenses, they’d be better off with receivers like Julian Edelman, who have short-area quickness and can line up all over the field. Harry is more of a traditional “X” outside receiver in a vertical offense.
It may be best for Harry, at this point, to get the proverbial change of scenery with an offense that he fits better. Even then, he may not get to the point of justifying a high draft selection. He certainly hasn’t done that to this point, so if he is traded then the return for the Patriots would likely be negligible.
If and when Harry is no longer in the Patriots’ plans, that would only increase their need to add established talent at wide receiver. Read below for some ideas at that position, plus tight end.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.