The New England Patriots don’t often find themselves in this position, but they now have two disgruntled players who could end up getting traded before long.
Of course, cornerback Stephon Gilmore is holding out as he seeks a new contract extension, whereas wide receiver N’Keal Harry requested a trade, though he plans on attending training camp if he’s not moved before then.
As far as Harry is concerned, the fact his trade request was communicated not only through his agent, but on a public platform, was a strange optic.
Throw in that it was submitted just a few weeks before training camp, and Harry’s PR team really dropped the ball.
How poorly timed was Harry’s trade request? Well, it prompted ESPN insider Adam Schefter, who’s as objective as any reporter in the industry, to call him out.
In a nutshell, Schefter took issue with how Harry made the request official, saying the former first-round pick should’ve kept it behind closed doors.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter didn’t approve of N’Keal Harry’s trade request.
"“Now, again, this, I don’t know was the wisest move that N’Keal Harry could have made,” Schefter said on his podcast this week. “If he wants a trade, it would be very simple for him to go into the office of head coach Bill Belichick and privately tell him that he thinks it’s in the best interest of everybody to move on,”"
Schefter continued saying that Harry, by refusing to be up front about wanting a trade, only sabotaged his chances of getting dealt. In fact, the longtime ESPN reporter thinks Harry going behind the Patriots’ back will prompt Bill Belichick to prove a point by keeping him around.
"“And so I don’t think N’Keal Harry is going to get traded any time soon. I do think he has basically invited more attention and scrutiny on himself. But I don’t think he’s done anything to further his cause of wanting out of New England.”"
Anybody who follows the NFL knows Schefter is as impartial as they come. Even during appearances on debate/analysis shows, he’ll defend players amid scrutiny. Taking that into account, Harry must’ve really screwed up for Schefter to feel obligated to call him out.
Though Schefter is a national insider and the Patriots aren’t his specific beat, he’s been covering them since forever and knows how they operate. In other words, if a player requests a trade through his agent, posts it on social media and doesn’t inform the franchise before doing so, chances are that isn’t going to resonate with the front office.
Think about it like this: do the Patriots really strike you as an organization that’s going to let players, let alone unproductive ones, control a narrative? Probably not, and that’s the point Schefter was trying to make with these comments.
And for anyone jumping the gun to say Schefter has it out for Harry, stop yourself. If anything, the veteran reporter has a soft spot for the struggling wideout and knows this course of action will only lead to him coming under more scrutiny from the media.
Even worse? This likely means Harry could end up having to stick around with the Patriots for another season. We hope we’re wrong, but we know better than to second guess an insider of Schefter’s stature at this point in his distinguished career.