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New England Patriots’ N’Keal Harry demands trade, 3 potential landing spots

Matt Fitzgerald

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Former New England Patriots first-round pick N’Keal Harry has officially requested a trade, according to a statement released through his agent on Tuesday, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo:

It’s pretty clear that Harry doesn’t feel as though he’s gotten a fair enough share of opportunities since entering the NFL out of Arizona State as the 32nd overall pick in 2019.

An ankle injury slowed Harry down during his rookie campaign, and let’s be honest, picking up the Patriots’ complex system under the scrutiny of Tom Brady is no easy task. That said, Harry hasn’t lived up to the hype, whatever the circumstances in Foxborough have been.

A change of scenery can often be just what a player needs to get his career back on track. However, it doesn’t reflect well on Harry that his teammate, Jakobi Meyers, signed with New England as an undrafted free agent in 2019 and has proven to be a far superior player to date.

Meyers’ 85 receptions across the past two seasons outnumber Harry’s total of 81 targets — which is actually five fewer than his agent asserted he’s gotten.

With Bill Belichick signing Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency, it sure looks like Harry’s days in Foxborough are numbered. Taking all that into account, let’s look at some ideal N’Keal Harry landing spots.

3 potential trade destinations for N’Keal Harry

Atlanta Falcons

Unfortunately for new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, he couldn’t bring Derrick Henry with him from Tennessee. However, the former Titans offensive coordinator will definitely look to run the ball more to take the pressure off longtime Atlanta QB Matt Ryan.

Why establish all this? Again, since Henry isn’t in a Falcons uniform, establishing the run will be easier said than done. What we do know is Smith had great success with bigger-bodied receivers in Tennessee with the likes of A.J. Brown and Corey Davis. He knows how to maximize players with those types of skill sets.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Harry isn’t lacking for talent, ball skills or sheer size and strength. The Falcons ranked 26th in red zone touchdown percentage last season, and badly need to improve in that area.

While the rushing attack should inevitably improve under Smith’s guidance, having a sizable weapon like Harry to complement rookie phenom Kyle Pitts and Calvin Ridley could add a new, needed dimension to Atlanta’s passing game. Plus, it fills out the Falcons’ receiver depth chart a bit more after the Julio Jones trade.

Houston Texans

N'Keal Harry to Houston Texans
FILE PHOTO: Sep 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If targets are what Harry and his agent are after, well, the Houston Texans aren’t the worst place to go. They might be the worst team in the NFL this coming season, but Harry should have a chance to start competing with the likes of Andre Roberts and rookie Nico Collins for a spot on the outside.

What makes Houston a very strong potential destination is the fact that longtime Patriots personnel man Nick Caserio is the new general manager. Caserio has been proactive this offseason in adding to the roster, even if all the moves don’t make all the sense in the world.

Considering he must’ve had a hand in drafting Harry, Caserio could be intrigued by the potential to ignite the young wideout’s career. Belichick would probably feel comfortable doing business with Caserio since there’s an established relationship there, too.

The thing is, Belichick could ship Harry to the Texans out of spite, knowing it’s a dire situation for the franchise in which the 23-yaer-old’s chances of thriving aren’t great. All the same, keep an eye on Houston as a possible landing spot for Harry.

Green Bay Packers

NFL salary cap, Aaron Rodgers
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) celebrates with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) after a touchdown during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers‘ future is completely up in the air, but whether he stays as the Green Bay Packers’ QB in 2021 or the team turns to Jordan Love, they’ll want to be in the market for weapons at the wide receiver position.

Superstar Davante Adams is entering a contract year, and there aren’t many other proven options at the Packers’ position group. What Green Bay does like to do is collect receivers with size, and Harry obviously fits that description.

The chance to possibly play with Rodgers would have to excite Harry. It’d behoove the Packers to kick the tires on Harry, too, to maybe get back in the reigning league MVP’s good graces, or at least improve their standing with him.

Based on the strong precedent of conservatism in Green Bay’s front office, a Harry trade might not be in the cards. Then again, we’re probably talking about a late Day 3 draft pick to give up, which is a small price to pay if Harry ultimately realizes his potential.

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