Former New England Patriots first-round pick, wide receiver N’Keal Harry has formally requested a trade from the organization. Harry has underperformed so far in his NFL career, only putting up 45 catches for 414 yards and 4 touchdowns on 81 total targets in two seasons with the team. This offseason, the New England Patriots added multiple pass catchers to their roster, including wide receivers Nelson Agolor and Kendrick Bourne and tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
The Patriots already have WR Jakobi Meyers at receiver, who emerged onto the scene last season and has cemented a spot in the starting lineup. These moves have pushed Harry out of the lineup for good, which is likely the reason why his agent formally requested a trade. Should the Saints do their take a look at a trade for the former first-round pick?
The Saints wide receiver depth chart currently looks like this.
WR Michael Thomas, Kawaan Baker, Eapson Winston
WR Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, Jake Lampman
WR Marquez Callaway, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Jalen McClesky
Of course, Michael Thomas leads the pack with Tre’Quan Smith trailing behind. But beyond the first two spots, there isn't much NFL experience. Deonte Harris and Marquez Callaway have combined for 47 catches for 381 yards, which is less than what Harry has done in two seasons. Admittedly, Callaway and Harris both are expected to take large leaps in their career with a big arm QB at the helm. Callaway emerged onto the scene as an undrafted free agent, but was sidelined often with an ankle injury. With Harris is still finding his niche in the Saints offense, there isn't a question that Harry would have more of an opportunity in New Orleans rather than in New England.
The Saints lost WR Emmanuel Sanders and TE Jared Cook this offseason to the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers respectively. The pair combined for 1,230 yards and 12 touchdowns of production that will be lost this season. There would be enough footballs to go around to give Harry a bigger opportunity in the NFL and an open competition to start day 1, which was his concern in New England.
The talent - or at least the potential - is there for N’Keal Harry. In three seasons in college, Harry put up 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns. It is still yet to be seen at the NFL level, but he hasn't been given the right opportunity yet. The Saints and Sean Payton could rejuvenate Harry’s career in New Orleans. A fresh start is needed by Harry and his agent, and the Saints should be looking into the cost in a trade.
But what would it cost for the Saints to land Harry? The Patriots don't have a ton of leverage in trade talks since Harry hasn't had much success yet in the NFL and because Harry has now publicly requested a trade. Because the large home run opportunity is there, it might cost a day-2 pick for the Saints. The Patriots don't need to fulfill Harry’s request to be traded, as they could use him as a depth piece. It is unlikely that all it would take is a day-3 selection, but if it comes to that point, the Saints should send it over ASAP. The Saints and Patriots have done many deals in the past (Brandin Cooks and Michael Hoomanawanui come to mind) and the two sides could do it again. Should the Saints try and trade for N’Keal Harry?
Saints Receive: WR N’Keal Harry, 2021 6th-round pick
Patriots Receive: 2021 4th-round pick, conditional 2022 5th-round pick