Forget DeAndre Hopkins, could Patriots target another wide receiver?

Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Bleacher Report proposed a few trades to shake up the 2023 NFL season, and the New England Patriots were involved in one of the trades for a wide receiver. Should they attempt to make this move? Well, if the pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins doesn't work out for whatever reason, the Pats could pivot to a different option.

Bleacher Report proposed a trade involving the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos. The trade consists of the Broncos sending Courtland Sutton to the Patriots for their 2024 second-round pick. Could this be a move that New England entertains? Here is the blurb from B/R about this proposal:

"The Broncos set a steep price for their top two receivers.

According to 9News' Mike Klis, they wanted a first-round pick for Jerry Jeudy or a second-rounder for Sutton in March, which seems to match ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano's late-April report about the team's asking prices:

"Teams have known for a while the Broncos would consider moving one of their wide receivers, but they've asked for high prices in return for Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton. Teams are watching to see whether Denver drops its demands for those guys, but as of now neither seems likely to get moved."

Assuming the Broncos stand pat on the compensation for Jeudy and Sutton but remain open to offers, the latter seems like a more realistic trade option because a second-round pick isn't much for a receiver-needy team in win-now mode.

Over the past few days, the Patriots have hosted wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on his free-agent tour. The Athletic's Jeff Howe wrote, "there's optimism" for an agreement between the Patriots and Hopkins.

Nonetheless, the 31-year-old has plenty of time to make a decision on his next destination, which leaves time for other teams to sign him.

If the Patriots strike out with Hopkins, who's a big-bodied 6'1", 211-pounder, they can turn their focus to Sutton, who's also a big pass-catching target at 6'4", 216 pounds.

New England may be aggressive in search of a veteran wideout. According to NFL Network's Mike Giardi, JuJu Smith-Schuster is battling a lingering injury (knee) from the previous campaign.

In the AFC East, the Patriots need to keep pace with two rivals that made the playoffs last season and the Aaron Rodgers-led New York Jets."

Maurice Moton

Sutton's name was involved in trade rumors earlier this offseason and the asking price for him was apparently a second-round pick. Sutton is two years removed from an ACL tear suffered at the beginning of the 2020 season, so that's probably not having an impact on his performance on the field.

Sutton turns 28 in October and made one Pro Bowl in the 2019 season where he put up 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. According to Pro Football Reference, Sutton's 17-game average is 63 receptions for 912 yards and four touchdowns, so he is a productive player.

Sutton is also under contract through the 2025 season, and his cap number does jump to $18.26 million this year. A post-June 1st trade by the Broncos would net them $3.8 million in dead money and $14.4 million in cap savings.

Honestly, this does seem like a steep price to pay for Sutton. I'm not sure the Pats would be willing to give up a second-round pick for Sutton's services, but you never know. If the team is unable to sign DeAndre Hopkins, this might be the next best option.