The New England Patriots have to deal with yet another trade ember that could be set ablaze soon this offseason, as a team already trying to figure out if they should keep or trade Stephon Gilmore was informed that wide receiver N’Keal Harry also wants out after two subpar seasons.
Harry was drafted in the first round in 2019 with the promise that he could be the physical outside presence this team needs.
He has rewarded their trust in him with just 45 catches in two seasons, far below what was expected of him.
We don’t want to talk about it.
While Harry has requested out, a move that could take some time to actually become real if New England insists on quality draft capital, Josina Anderson is reporting that Harry will still show up to training camp. Some insiders are taking things even further, as they believe that he will still be on the roster when the season starts.
Henry McKenna of PatriotsWire claims that despite his trade request, Harry will be one of the five wide receivers on this roster, as he will vie for snaps behind new signings Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne and alongside the likes of Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski.
Will N’Keal Harry still be on the Patriots roster this season?
To slightly defend Harry just a bit, he hasn’t been deployed like he was at Arizona State, where he was often utilized for his run-after-catch ability. In New England, concerns about him separating from defensive backs due to a lack of speed have been validated in the pros.
Belichick could still try to find a use for him if he’s unable to find a trade partner, but Harry is looking like another wasted high draft pick.
Despite that, he’s still only about to start his third year, and there could still be a 6-4 possession monster buried deep within him. The question now becomes how committed Belichick and the rest of the organization are to making Harry play up to what the pre-draft reports said he could do.
Even if Harry is on the 53-man roster, which appears to have a higher chance of happening than previously indicated, he will likely be the fifth or sixth receiving option when everyone is healthy. That will make it really hard for him to play like a first-round pick, and it should motivate the front office to find him a new setting.