N'Keal Harry's days with the New England Patriots appear to be nearing an end. On Tuesday, the former first-round pick's agent, Jamal Tooson, revealed that the receiver has formally requested a trade and has been communicating with the organization about a departure for the past several months. Harry's displeasure centers around the lack of targets he's received over the two seasons he's been in Foxborough and is now looking for a team that would allow him to be a more central figure in the offense.
While the receiver may have now requested a trade, a split between these two sides in some form or another seemed inevitable and could have come as early as the end of training camp this year as Harry has struggled to fit within the offense throughout his short tenure. In the 21 regular season games Harry has played in over his first two seasons in the league, the receiver has tallied just 45 receptions for 414 yards and four touchdowns. That's hardly the type of production that New England was hoping for when they made him the 32nd overall pick at the 2019 NFL Draft, but that doesn't mean another club won't try its hand at tapping into his potential.
As Harry and the Patriots try to find him a new home, here are three trade partners that could make sense.
The Cardinals were one of the teams heavily linked to Harry when he was coming out of Arizona State back in 2019. He met with the organization multiple times throughout the pre-draft process and even stated that he was extremely confident that Arizona wouldn't let him slip past them at No. 33 overall saying he was "about 95% sure if I'm there at 33 and they're still at that pick, they're going to pick me up."
"Obviously my main goal is to be a first-round pick, to be a first-day pick," Harry told Burns & Gambo on 98.7 FM Arizona's Sports Station back in 2019. "But if, for whatever reason, I do end up slipping to the second round, I don't see myself slipping past 33. So if I do slip out the first round, I would be excited to be an Arizona Cardinal, and that's where I would see myself going if I didn't get picked on day one."
Of course, a lot has changed in Arizona since that draft and the wide receiver unit has gotten a bit crowded. Currently, DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green are the big names on the depth chart, while they also boast Andy Isabella, Christian Kirk, and rookie Rondale Moore. That may not be the type of situation Harry is looking for if increased targets are what's he's after, but if the Cardinals continue to think highly of him, this could be a strong long-term landing spot, especially if they ship one of their second-tier receivers back to New England in the deal.
Washington Football Team
Washington was monitoring the situation with Harry and the Patriots earlier this offseason in the event that a trade was on the horizon, according to ESPN's John Keim. Now that Harry has formally put in that trade request, it will be curious to see if Washington still has some interest. To pour a bit more gasoline on the flames of this possible landing spot, current Washington GM Martin Mayhew was in the San Francisco 49ers front office when they were showing interest in Harry heading into the 2019 draft. If he was one of those in the Bay Area that were showing interest, that could make Washington a legit player in a potential deal.
Of course, Terry McLaurin is the No. 1 receiver in this offense and the club also signed Curtis Samuel in free agency, but Harry should be able to compete for the No. 3 role with the upside of evolving into an even bigger piece within the offense. He'd also fit nicely into the timeline of Washington's skill position players with McLaurin, Samuel, and Harry all 25 years old or younger.
In the aftermath of the Julio Jones trade, the Falcons are pretty thin at wide receiver. Calvin Ridley is naturally the top pass-catching option for Matt Ryan, but there may not be much competition beyond that at wide receiver. Russell Gage is currently looked at as the No. 2 receiver behind Ridley but if Harry can truly live up to his first-round potential he could very well leapfrog him on the depth chart for that spot. Both tight ends -- Hayden Hurst and first-round rookie Kyle Pitts -- will see their fair share of targets in this offense in 2021, but this may be the best option out of these three landing spots for Harry if volume is the main target in his next NFL home.