N’Keal Harry Landing Spots: Will Patriots trade former first-round pick?

    N’Keal Harry was the New England Patriots’ first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. However, after two injury-riddled and disappointing seasons in the NFL, Harry has requested a trade out of New England. So, where are some potential landing spots, what are Harry’s salary cap implications, and can he still provide value as a receiver?

    Wide receiver N’Keal Harry has requested a trade out of New England

    Harry has played in just 21 of 36 regular-season games the past two seasons. He’s caught 45 of 81 targets for 414 yards and 4 touchdowns. The 6’4″ receiver is looking for a fresh start entering his age-23 season.

    Harry’s agent, Jamal Tooson, formally requested a trade to a new team from the Patriots, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Tooson acknowledged that the first-rounder “hasn’t met expectations.” Yet, he also hinted that Harry didn’t receive a significant opportunity to thrive in New England.

    Tooson further wrote, “I believe it’s time for a fresh start and best for both parties if N’Keal moves on before the start of training camp.” The Patriots will presumably comply and ship the former Arizona State star to a new franchise.

    Harry will leave New England with a dead cap hit of $1.34 million in each of the next two seasons if they trade him. Conversely, the Patriots would save $1.4 million in 2021 and $1.8 million in 2022 as Harry’s new team would pick it up as well as his fifth-year option.

    Furthermore, Harry is buried on the Patriots depth chart and is a cut candidate entering training camp. They signed Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne this offseason, and Jakobi Meyers proved to be a reliable target for Cam Newton in 2020.

    Potential landing spots for N’Keal Harry

    Which teams would benefit most from landing Harry, and where would he fall on the depth chart?

    Arizona Cardinals

    It was apparent the Cardinals had an interest in the former first-round pick earlier this spring. Yes, they drafted Rondale Moore, but he is more of a gadget athlete than a pure receiver. Don’t get me wrong, Moore was a steal at 49th overall, but he and Harry could not be any more dissimilar as players.

    Would the Cardinals offer speedster Andy Isabella — who seems to have fallen out of favor — in return for a big-bodied receiver? Another draft pick may be necessary, but that is a trade both sides could benefit from.

    Detroit Lions

    One glance at the Lions’ anemic receiving corps, and they instantly become a contender. Detroit legitimately has six receivers who could end the year on top: Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Quintez Cephus, and Geronimo Allison. All have talent and demonstrated at least some ability at one point in their careers. But none are No. 1 or maybe even No. 2 pass catchers at this point.

    Does 6’4″ and 225 pounds scream “kneecap biter” to Dan Campbell? I am not sure, but that is one large human. The lions should inquire about the low-cost, high-upside WR.

    Green Bay Packers

    With or without Aaron Rodgers under center, the Packers need reinforcements in the wide receiver room. Outside of Davante Adams, Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have flashed potential, but neither has been consistent.

    Green Bay did select Amari Rodgers in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he is a versatile slot piece, not an outside receiver. If he can stay healthy, Harry would provide a red-zone threat on the boundary and benefit from Adams receiving all of the defense’s attention.

    Houston Texans

    Although New England would rather send Harry out of the conference, they likely aren’t worried about the Houston Texans. There is a reason — or multiple — why the Texans are the favorite to hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. It is Brandin Cooks and a whole lot of question marks at receiver. Will Randall Cobb stay healthy? Can Nico Collins excel in his first year in the league?

    Harry would have plenty of opportunities to prove his worth in Houston, but his production would depend on who is at the helm of the offense. If a combination of Tyrod Taylor and rookie Davis Mills are slinging the football, we may not hear Harry’s name for another couple of years.

    It is also worth noting that GM Nick Caserio was in New England when Bill Belichick pulled the trigger on Harry. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that some Patriots members disagreed with the selection — was Caserio a part of the bunch?

    Washington Football Team

    Prior to the draft, it was reported that Washington was monitoring Harry’s situation. They drafted two receivers in UNC’s Dyami Brown and BYU’s Dax Milne, but neither fit the same mold Harry does. Washington may opt to trade a late-round 2022 pick to see what a healthy and hungry Harry has left in the tank. Moreover, GM Martin Mayhew was in San Francisco when reports stated the San Francisco 49ers had an interest in Harry before the 2019 NFL Draft.

    Behind Terry McLaurin and the newly acquired Curtis Samuel are relative unknowns. Cam Sims and Steven Sims had some moments last season, and Antonio Gandy-Golden and Adam Humphries dealt with injuries. It wouldn’t hurt Washington to add more depth and competition to the position before the 2021 campaign.

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