2 Patriots trade targets look to be just a dream ahead of 2024 season

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Because the Patriots had so much cap space to use up in free agency this year, the assumption was they would not only go all in to improve the team overall but prioritize upgrading the receiving corps by locking down or trading for a top-name receiver.

They reportedly attempted to do that by enticing Calvin Ridley with a nice contract, only to fall short due to the Titans unexpectedly getting a better deal done. Since then, Jerod Mayo has suggested they are actively looking into the trade market for a receiver. However, there haven't been any reports or rumors detailing their movements in doing that.

Rumors have connected New England to Bengals' Tee Higgins since last season, with the chatter heightening after he was franchise-tagged this year instead of receiving a contract extension. And then there have been whispers of a possible trade for 49ers' Brandon Aiyuk, who doesn't appear to be a prioritized extension candidate despite his impressive play.

Most of the discussion surrounding the Patriots' potentially getting a deal done for either player has quieted down in recent weeks, and it looks like there won't be any positive updates after seeing the latest reports involving both Aiyuk and Higgins.

2 Patriots trade targets look to be just a dream ahead of 2024 season

This offseason has been a whirlwind for Aiyuk, who has made his desire for a new contract well-known. San Francisco doesn't appear interested in getting that done, as they seemingly ignore the receiver's request, fueling trade rumors even further.

Because of that, former teammate Kendrick Bourne continues to take to social media in hopes of persuading Aiyuk to come to the Patriots, even if it's not really in his control.

He took to Twitter/X on Sunday morning after rumors alleged Aiyuk officially requested a trade out of the Bay area, and Bourne let his friend know he would be treated right in New England if he was able to sign there.

Unfortunately, Aiyuk's agent clarified the rumor fairly quickly, responding with a swift and direct comment letting the reporter know he needs "better sources."

It's a disappointing development for the Patriots, who are searching for a clear WR1, but it gets even more discouraging after seeing what Higgins had to say regarding his plans for the upcoming season.

Higgins' comments could easily be chopped up to being politically correct, given he is under contract for the 2024 season due to the franchise tag. It's also entirely possible that he would prefer to remain with the Bengals since they are the team that drafted him, and they continue on a path to winning a Super Bowl soon.

He's likely well aware that a team interested in trading for him is probably not in that same position, making remaining in Cincinnati even more desirable. However, plans change within seconds in the NFL. We've seen it plenty of times where a team deems a player safe from the trade market only to be shipped off the next day.

That might be wishful thinking in the cases of Aiyuk and Higgins, but you can never say never in the NFL.

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