The New England Patriots were hit with fairly surprising news on Tuesday when N’Keal Harry, through his agent, formally requested a trade from the organization.
It remains to be seen whether the Patriots will comply with Harry’s ambition, but when you consider how little he’s contributed over his first two seasons, and that he likely wasn’t going to play a prominent role in 2021 anyway, they might as well cash in on him, right?
Assuming this is the last we’ve seen of Harry in a Patriots uniform, his tenure will widely be considered a colossal disappointment.
However, we can’t help but speculate whether things could’ve turned out better (for both the player and team) under different circumstances.
For instance, what if Harry wasn’t placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury just a few days before the official start of his rookie campaign?
The list of “what ifs” concerning the 2019 first-round pick, as “Gresh And Keefe” of WEEI Radio provided on Twitter, is simply mind-rattling.
The list of “what ifs” concerning N’Keal Harry is truly insane.
That’s a lot to digest for Patriots fans.
If Harry never got injured during the 2019 preseason, who’s to say he doesn’t hit the ground running as a rookie? Any first-year receiver, regardless of talent, would struggle out of the gates coming off an injury several weeks into a season. Throw in the fact that we’re talking about a championship-hopeful Patriots team and you’ll understand what Harry was dealing with.
On another note, the truncated offseason last year stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic did nothing but impede Harry’s development. The former Arizona State star could’ve spent those months practicing with teammates and getting a better feel for the offense. Instead, things were mostly virtual until a shortened training camp started at the end of July.
You’d be hard-pressed to fault Harry for those unfortunate circumstances, and they further suggest he was never meant to succeed in New England.
From a team perspective, we can’t help but wonder what could’ve been had New England not made Harry the second WR off the board in 2019. As the above tweet notes, had they used the No. 32 overall pick on either one of AJ Brown, Deebo Samuel or DK Metcalf, it’s worth speculating whether Tom Brady would’ve even tested free agency last offseason.
The Patriots lacking elite weaponry was the main reason Brady left, right? Who’s to say the addition of Brown, Samuel or Metcalf wouldn’t have changed his mind? If Brady stayed, that means Cam Newton never would’ve signed and likely no Mac Jones, either.
After all, if Brady signed an extension, would they really use a first-round pick on another quarterback? They might’ve not even been in a position to draft Jones to begin with.
There are just so many “what ifs” attached to the Harry pick that fans in Foxborough are likely relieved he requested a trade ahead of his third season. The selection was a disaster for both parties, so fans would be better off just wiping it from their memory … if that’s even possible.