3 teams that can save Patriots with N’Keal Harry trade
By Jerry Trotta
1. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are set at wide receiver with Deebo Samuel asserting himself as one of the league’s premier playmakers.
In 2021 alone, Samuel, drafted just a few picks after Harry in 2019, compiled 77 catches for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns, adding 365 yards and eight additional scores as a runner. His 18.2 yards per reception led the NFL and his 1,405 receiving yards ranked fifth among wideouts.
Behind Samuel, the 49ers have Brandon Aiyuk. Once perceived as a potential trade candidate, Aiyuk rebounded from being in Kyle Shanahan’s doghouse coming out of the preseason and finished the year with 826 yards and five TDs. Pretty solid output for a guy who didn’t play 90% of the snaps until Week 8.
Though dynamic as any WR duo in the league, San Francisco lacks a legitimate third option behind Samuel and Aiyuk. In fact, the three other receivers on the 2021 depth chart — Mohamed Sanu, Jauan Jennings and Ritchie James — are all free agents, so Harry could theoretically step right into the WR3 role.
With Samuel, Aiyuk and George Kittle consuming most of the target share, Harry wouldn’t have much pressure to produce. The strides he made as a run-blocker with the Patriots in 2021 could pique Kyle Shanahan’s interest, too.