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Nelson Agholor trade ‘unlikely’ for New England Patriots due to massive contract

Matt Johnson

The New England Patriots signed wide receiver Nelson Agholor to a lucrative contract in the 2021 offseason with the idea of him becoming a top playmaker. Just over a year later, that contract might be the only thing keeping him on the roster.

Coming off an 896-yard and eight-touchdown season in 2020 with the las Vegas Raiders, Bill Belichick made an early splash in free agency. New England signed Agholor to a $22 million contract, including $16 million guaranteed. Many viewed it as a risky signing at the time and the move backfired.

Heading into the 2022 season, the Patriots receiving corps is still a problem. While DeVante Parker is drawing rave reviews, things look rather bleak outside of him on the depth chart. Despite there being ample opportunities, Agholor is being floated in NFL trade rumors.

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Belichick is always open to deal, even the possibility of trading running back Damien Harris. However, a top Patriots reporter explained why New England likely won’t have much success finding a trade partner.

According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the logistics behind an Agholor trade make it unlikely for New England. While the franchise is very willing to move him, the contract it signed him to last season is the major issue.

  • Nelson Agholor contract: $14.882 million cap hit, $10 million dead cap

“There aren’t many teams that want to pick up a $10 million cap hit for a No. 2-3 receiver. The Patriots could facilitate a trade by eating some of the money, but then they’d be paying one of their two best receivers to play elsewhere in return for maybe a Saturday draft pick.”

Jeff Howe of The Athletic on complications for a Nelson Agholor trade

What will the Patriots do with Nelson Agholor?

NFL: AFC Wild Card Playoffs-New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

As Howe mentions, it can safely be ruled out that any team would acquire Agholor without receiving money back. He’s overpriced for the role he would serve on a team, especially at a time when Will Fuller, Odell Beckham Jr., Cole Beasley and T.Y. Hilton are still available in free agency.

It forces Belichick to make a decision. New England can attach $3-$5 million in cash, covering a significant portion of Agholor’s contract. Even if that happens, though, the Patriots would likely receive nothing more than a 2023 sixth-round pick in return.

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So, New England must decide between keeping an overpriced Agholor on the roster and hoping he can recapture some of the form he showed in his only noteworthy NFL season. It’s either that or Belichick admits he made another awful mistake at wide receiver (N’Keal Harry) and trades Agholor for whatever a team is willing to offer.