Two years into his professional career, N’Keal Harry has not lived up to the expectations that come with being a first-round draft selection. The former Arizona State standout, who was selected 32nd overall by the New England Patriots in 2019, has struggled to make much of an impact as he dealt with injuries and inconsistent performances.
While his upside is apparent and shone through at times in 2019 and 2020, Harry’s future with the Patriots — a team expected to make some major investments at the wide receiver position this offseason — is uncertain. Other teams are apparently also thinking that New England might be willing to part with the 23-year-old, as the club has recently gotten inquiries about possibly make him available for trade.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Harry’s name keeps coming up as a player possible changing teams over the coming weeks and months.
“N’Keal Harry, an interesting name that keeps popping up when you start to talk to people around the league,” Garofolo said on the air on Wednesday. “My understanding is teams have been calling the Patriots to see if maybe they’d be willing to part with Harry, the last pick in the first round two years ago.”
Since joining the Patriots, Harry has appeared in just 22 of a possible 33 games and failed to join the group of impact players other teams were able to get out of the 2019 draft. Whereas A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf and Deebo Samuel — all players selected after Harry — were able to establish themselves as difference makers for their respective clubs, Harry has had a minimal role in New England in each of his two seasons.
In total, he has caught just 47 passes for 435 yards and four touchdowns. He did show some signs of improvement over the first three weeks of the 2020 season when he caught 15 passes for 145 yards, but quarterback Cam Newton being diagnosed with Covid-19 and Harry himself suffering a concussion a short time later stalled any momentum he may have built early on.
He finished his second year with just 33 catches for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and now finds himself at the center of trade speculation.
“Has not gotten off to the start that both sides envisioned in New England, so teams checking in there because he’s that big-body type of receiver . Maybe some untapped-into talent that teams feel like maybe, ‘If he comes in and joins us maybe we’ll be able to tap into that,’” said Garafolo earlier this week.
“An interesting guy to watch here as we get into the start of the league year — maybe a little bit further as we get closer to the draft — because there’s going to be a lot of moving parts in New England. There’s always a lot of moving parts in New England, but particularly this year, so we’ll see if Harry maybe lands somewhere else via trade in the coming weeks and months, really.”
The Patriots trading Harry is certainly a possibility if they want to completely overhaul a wide receiver corps that struggled for the last three years, but it would actually hurt the team financially. Moving him before June 2nd would cost New England an additional $708,031 in salary cap space and create a dead money charge of $2.68 million.