Patriots reportedly exploring trade for Ravens’ Hayden Hurst

The New England Patriots — desperate to improve their tight end position — are reportedly engaged in trade talks for Baltimore Ravens TE Hayden Hurst.

Can the New England Patriots convince one of their most despised NFL rivals to become a trade partner this spring? That must be the question on the minds of Patriots fans everywhere these days — along with Baltimore Ravens — if a new report is to be believed.

WEEI’s Ryan Hannable reported Monday afternoon that the Patriots are engaged in trade talks for third-year tight end Hayden Hurst, currently of the Baltimore Ravens. The Jacksonville Jaguars are also supposedly involved in the trade talks to some degree.

Eugene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union was the first to break the news.

Hurst is a former first-round draft pick out of South Carolina who still just 26 years old. He played in 12 games as a rookie in 2018, totaling 13 receptions on 23 targets for 163 yards and a touchdown.

In his second season with the team, Hurst’s usage increased. He caught 30 balls on 39 targets for 349 yards and two touchdowns, and saw playing time in all 16 regular season games.

The problem for Hurst is that so far through his career, he has been thoroughly outplayed and outsnapped by fellow tight end Mark Andrews, himself a 2018 draft pick of the Ravens. Even though Andrews went two rounds after Hurst, he’s been much more productive.

In 2018, Andrews had 34 receptions on 50 targets for 552 yards and three touchdowns. Last season, he upped those numbers to 64 receptions on 98 targets for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns. He played in all 16 games as a rookie, and he played in 15 games last season.

The Ravens also have Nick Boyle on their roster, the 27-year-old veteran of the group from the 2015 NFL Draft.

Hurst reportedly wants an expanded role — whether that’s in the Ravens offense or it’s somewhere else. Baltimore might be willing to part with him, given just how incredibly productive and lethal their offense was in 2019 without many contributions at all from Hurst.

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If a team like the Patriots is desperate enough to acquire the former No. 25 overall pick, the Ravens might just be motivated to deal him. After all, they can probably obtain a healthy ransom of picks, cash consideration, other veteran players, or some combination of all three for Hurst — if they decide to play ball with a rival like the Patriots.