Last week, I and the rest of the one-percenters (Patriot fans), were met with the news that to put it bluntly, didn’t exactly move the needle. Simply, oft-maligned WR, N’Keal Harry, wants out. In a lengthy statement made by Harry’s agent, Jamal Tooson, a formal trade request has been made:
“For the past several months, I have been working in cooperation with the Patriots behind the scenes to put a plan in place to allow N’Keal to thrive in New England.” Through two seasons, he has 86 targets, which obviously hasn’t met the expectations the Patriots and N’Keal had when they drafted a dominant downfield threat who was virtually unstoppable at the point of attack in college. Following numerous conversations with the Patriots, I believe it’s time for a fresh start and best for both parties if N’Keal moves on before the start of training camp. That’s why I have informed the Patriots today I am formally requesting a trade on behalf of my client.
“N’Keal understands a key ingredient to production is opportunity. He will continue to work hard to develop and refine his craft after missing a large portion of his rookie year to injury. His draft-day expectations for his NFL career have not changed. We are confident success is just around the corner for him and will aggressively pursue it.”profootballtalk.nbcsports.com
Do you see this image above? This is the face I make when I read this formal trade request. Further, a litany of thoughts come to mind when discussing Harry and this statement by his agent. So, N’Keal Harry wants to be traded, eh? Let’s examine this situation.
What Has He Done?
In terms of production. How can I put this politely? His production stinks. In two seasons, with the Patriots, Harry has put up an exceptionally mediocre stat line of 45 RECs for 414 YDs and 4 TDs. This is less than ideal for a guy who was the second WR off the board in the 2019 draft. Additionally, Harry was the first WR ever drafted in the first round during The Hoodie´s tenure as the Patriots´ head coach. I don’t know, maybe play better? You’re a big, strong, prototypical WR. Perhaps you lack the speed and explosiveness, as some have suggested, that you should have. I can’t be sure. I do know that these numbers don’t exactly offer you the leverage you may want in trying to negotiate your way out of Foxborough.
Now… In His Defense…
Like most jaded Patriot fans, my experience rooting for Harry to thrive has ranged from hopeful to frustrating. These vacillating emotions are attributed to Harry struggling to build any momentum in his young career. While certainly not helping himself production-wise, he has had some hurdles to overcome that are not his doing. His first season was marred by an injury. His second season happened with virtually no training camp and the decaying corpse of Cam Newton throwing to him. Patriot honks, like me, cannot let Harry off the hook. However, I am cognizant of the fact that his shortcomings aren’t all on him. He’s been up against it in his first two seasons.
I’m Sorry, Jamal, What?
Previously, I noted that Harry’s lack of production was not entirely his doing. However, his numbers are what they are. When he’s on the field, healthy, it’s hard to highlight anything noteworthy. This brings me to a point his agent, Jamal Tooson, made in his trade request statement. ¨N’Keal understands a key ingredient to production is opportunity.¨ Opportunity? So, after you formally request a trade, you mention finding Harry more opportunity? Fascinating. So being one of the starting WRs in 14 of the 21 games total you appear in is a lack of opportunity? I did not realize this. I didn’t realize Coach Belichick and Coach McDaniels have not given N’Keal Harry adequate opportunity. Jamal Tooson might be right though. It’s possible that all the ¨opportunity¨ is being given to Jakobi Meyers, a fellow Patriot WR who has been in the league for precisely the same amount of time as Harry. Additionally, as an undrafted WR in the same draft as Harry, Meyers has put up decent production considering his origin. One might say, Meyers has been making the most of…his “opportunity.”
So Where Does Harry Go?
Harry is in a tough spot here. N’Keal Harry wants out, clearly. A fresh start would probably do him well. Who would take him? It’s hard to say, really. There has been some speculation that he’s worth nothing more than a conditional sixth-round draft pick. Is that enough for Belichick to seriously explore the option? I’m not convinced that it is. It was reported recently that Harry will attend camp in the event he is not traded before then. Interestingly, I find this to be the most likely outcome. He has little leverage given his lack of production as a former first-round pick. The aforementioned injury woes don’t help his cause. Plus, he’s playing for a Coach who has the ultimate final say on personnel. N’Keal, take the advice of some snarky nobody. Work hard, get better, earn your ¨opportunity.¨ Prove idiot Patriot fans, like myself, wrong. While you’re at it, try not to fall further down the depth chart.
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