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Patriots wide receivers reportedly generating buzz ahead of NFL trade deadline

Related: Patriots vs. Browns injury analysis: New England’s injury woes continue in Week 6

NFL: OCT 16 Patriots at Browns Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL trade deadline is approaching fast, and it appears as if two members of the New England Patriots are already generating some buzz. According to a report by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, wide receivers Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor are among the names to watch with only two weeks until trading stops.

Apparently, multiple teams have called the Patriots to inquire about Bourne. Likewise, Agholor has also “come up in discussions” around the league:

Patriots WR could get more snaps elsewhere

Multiple teams have called the New England Patriots about wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, a talented run-after-catch guy with a reasonable $3.5 million salary. The Patriots have been inclined to keep him, but teams have a few weeks to change their minds.

The Las Vegas Raiders are always one to watch with New England deals since general manager Dave Ziegler, a former Bill Belichick lieutenant, has executed multiple trades with the Patriots since taking over Vegas in January, including one for offensive tackle Justin Herron last month.

Bourne would welcome a change in uniform due to declining opportunities. After 55 catches for 800 yards on 70 targets last season, he is on pace for 44 targets this season. Wideout Nelson Agholor is a name that comes up in discussions across the league, too.

In theory, attempting to trade one of Bourne or Agholor would make some sense from the Patriots’ points of view.

As outlined in the excerpt above, Bourne was a productive members of the Patriots’ passing offense last year and built a strong rapport with quarterback Mac Jones. His second year in the system has been a challenge, though, with him reportedly struggling to generate consistent production in training camp and eventually entering the regular season as WR4 behind Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker and Nelson Agholor.

As for Agholor, he has taken a significant leap in his second year in the Patriots system. He is ranked third on the team in both receptions (14) and receiving yards (225), and is tied for the lead in touchdown catches (1). However, ball security has been an issue for the former first-round draft pick; he has fumbled twice and also let a ball go through his hands for an interception.

Those are not the only facts that would work in favor of a trade. The Patriots also like what they have in second-round rookie Tyquan Thornton, and are slowly starting to get their tight end position more involved in the passing game. Furthermore, trading them would create some additional cap space for the team: roughly $2.8 million in Bourne’s case and $6.5 million in Agholor’s.

All that being said, the Patriots holding onto both does make sense. As noted, they “have been inclined to keep” Bourne and it would not be a surprise if Agholor is in the same boat.

For starters, both have been productive when given an opportunity. Agholor’s numbers are outlined above, with Bourne also having caught 11 passes for 156 yards this year.

Additionally, removing one or even both would weaken their wide receiver depth — something that already happened in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns: Agholor was inactive due to a hamstring injury, with Bourne hurting his toe just four snaps in. The Patriots spent the rest of the game with only Meyers, Parker, Thornton and practice squad elevatee Lil’Jordan Humphrey as healthy options at the position.

So, what will happen? That is impossible to tell right now. Bourne and Agholor generating buzz is not a surprise, though, and neither would be both ultimately staying put.