With the NFL trade deadline coming up on Nov. 1, the New England Patriots’ wide receiver position is firmly in the spotlight. While nothing has materialized yet, the team has received calls “on all of their veteran WRs” recently.
The pass catchers in question are Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, according to a report by NBC Sports’ Phil Perry.
While the market is a fluid one, all four of them being available for trade would be a surprise. Meyers and Parker in particular are likely off limits — unless an unreasonably attractive offer comes along — due to their respective roles in the New England offense. At the moment, they are the Patriots’ top-two at the wide receiver position and the team moving on from them would weaken an already inconsistent unit.
Agholor and Bourne, meanwhile, are more realistic candidates to be moved ahead of next week’s deadline even though the team is apparently “inclined to keep” both on its roster.
Still, trading one of the two would make some sense from the Patriots’ points of view.
Agholor has taken a significant leap in his second year in the Patriots system and is among the team leaders in catches (14; 4th), receiving yards (225; 3rd) and receiving touchdowns (1; t-2nd). 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. Additionally, he missed time due to a hamstring injury and has not caught a pass since Week 4.
Bourne, on the other hand, was a productive member of the Patriots’ passing offense last year and built a strong rapport with quarterback Mac Jones. His second season in the system has been a challenge, though, and he currently appears closer to the WR5 spot than the WR2 position he held in 2021. He has caught just 11 passes for 156 yards so far this season, and is currently dealing with a turf toe injury.
The emergence of second-round rookie Tyquan Thornton also is a factor to consider, as is the financial component: New England would create roughly $2.8 million in cap space by trading Bourne and $6.5 million by moving on from Agholor.
That said, the Patriots holding onto both does make sense as well. They are experienced members of the offense and have shown some good chemistry with Mac Jones whenever they were on the field with him. Additionally, the team’s wide receiver depth beyond the current top five — Meyers, Parker, Thornton, Agholor, Bourne — is suspect.
At the end of the day, though, any potential offers will decide the availability of the players in question.