This year’s NFL trade deadline was rather anticlimactic, but the New England Patriots were still among the few teams to join in on the action. While they did not make any big name moves — Stephon Gilmore and Joe Thuney are still with the team — the Patriots did bolster one of the weakest position groups on their roster by sending a conditional sixth-round selection in the 2022 draft to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Isaiah Ford.
Ford will help bolster a wide receiver group whose depth has suffered since N’Keal Harry suffered a concussion in Week 7 and Julian Edelman was sent to injured reserve following a procedure on his knee. As a result, the team had only three healthy wideouts remaining on its 53-man squad when the trade deadline came around: number one option Damiere Byrd as well as second-year men Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski.
Ford will add some experience to the group when he joins it for the first time on Sunday night: after having to go through the league’s Coronavirus protocols and therefore being unable to join the team right away, the 24-year-old joined his teammates on the practice fields this week to prepare for the upcoming game against the Baltimore Ravens.
How do fans feel about Ford ahead of his debut? Well, they are not overwhelmingly thrilled as a look at our fan survey after the transaction shows: 37 percent of the more than 3,000 participants gave the trade a C-grade, followed by 31 percent giving it a B. 12 and 11 percent handed out a D and A, respectively, with 8 percent using a failing grade to evaluate the move.
Needless to say that Ford’s first game as a Patriot is pretty much an under-the-radar storyline heading into the game versus Baltimore — and understandably so. For one, his potential impact on the contest can be questioned given that he will have participated in only four practices, two of which in a walkthrough setting, when New England takes the field on Sunday night. Immediate results should not necessarily be expected.
On top of it, Jakobi Meyers has established himself as quarterback Cam Newton’s favorite target over the last three weeks: the former undrafted rookie caught 22 passes for 287 yards since taking the field for N’Keal Harry against the San Francisco 49ers. He is clearly leading the team in both categories over the last two-and-a-half games, and has proven himself worthy of getting more regular looks with in the offense.
Ford, on the other hand, will likely only play a rotational role alongside Meyers, Damiere Byrd and, if ready to go, N’Keal Harry. While the ex-Dolphin offers some intriguing versatility from the slot to help replace Julian Edelman, he will have to show that he can get on the same page as Cam Newton quickly in order to make some contributions in the passing game.
Could it happen on Sunday night? Sure. However, it seem as if fans are more excited to see whether or not Jakobi Meyers can continue building on his impressive two-game stretch than expect anything similar out of Ford.
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