The New England Patriots invested considerable resources in their offensive skill positions this offseason. Frankly, they had to: the wide receivers and tight ends on the 2020 roster mostly disappointed, and played a major role in the team’s struggles to consistently move the football through the air.
With four starting-caliber players added to the mix last week — tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne — the Patriots completely rebuilt their arsenal in free agency. In turn, the players returning appear to be on the thin ice.
One of them is former first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry, who already generated some potential trade interest before free agency even began. According to a new report by ESPN’s John Keim, at least four organizations are closely monitoring the situation.
The Washington Football Team is believed to be among them:
Washington’s quest to add more offensive talent could include New England WR N’Keal Harry. The team is monitoring his situation, according to multiple sources. The 6-foot-4 Harry, a first-round pick in 2019, hasn’t produced and could be traded. WFT GM Martin Mayhew was sin San Francisco when the 49ers showed interest in Harry before the 2019 draft. At least three other teams could be interested. One source said it’s hard to imagine New England settling for anything less than a fourth-round pick.
There is a lot to digest in this report (even when excluding the fact that Harry was measured at 6-foot-2 at the Scouting Combine in 2019).
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 — adding to New England’s woes at the wide receiver position. As a result, he might find himself on the trade block now.
The Patriots trading Harry is certainly a possibility if they want to continue overhauling their wide receiver room after already adding Agholor and Bourne. However, the situation appears to be a fluid one at the moment.
Fact is that Harry did have some encouraging moments over the first two years of his career and might still play a role in New England’s future plans, despite the recent reinforcements. Fact also is that trading him before June 2nd would actually hurt the team financially, costing an additional $708,031 in salary cap space and creating a dead money charge of $2.68 million.
Putting all those factors into account, Harry being traded at this point is not a certainty despite the rumors currently flying around.