The agent for N'Keal Harry has requested a trade for the New England Patriots wide receiver.
"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," Jamal Tooson, Harry's agent, said in a statement. "That is why I have informed the Patriots today that I am formally requesting a trade on behalf of my client."
Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo
Statement from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Patriots?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Patriots</a> WR N’Keal Harry’s agent Jamal Tooson, who has formally requested a trade for the 2019 first-round pick. <a href="https://t.co/3xdJbbar28">pic.twitter.com/3xdJbbar28</a>
The Patriots selected Harry 32nd overall in the 2019 draft. Since then, he has struggled to make an impact in New England's passing game. The 23-year-old has caught only 45 passes for 414 yards and four touchdowns in 21 games.
He's also averaging only 9.2 yards per reception, well below the 13.6 yards he averaged in three years at Arizona State.
In April, The MMQB's Albert Breer pointed to comments from Patriots owner Robert Kraft about how he felt underwhelmed by the franchise's recent draft hauls. Kraft also alluded to "a different approach this year."
Warren Sharp @SharpFootball
Patriots first round draft picks since 2013<br><br>2020: --<br>2019: N'Keal Harry - wants out of NE<br>2018: Isiah Wynn - on IR every year<br>2018: Sony Michel - benched for a 3rd rd RB<br>2017: --<br>2016: --<br>2015: Malcom Brown - not re-signed<br>2014: Dominique Easley - cut after 2 yrs<br>2013: --<br><br>🥴
Breer used Harry as an example of what had gone wrong, explaining that Bill Belichick and his staff didn't heed guidance from the scouting department:
"Harry killed his 30 visit that spring and had a college coach, Todd Graham, who was close to Belichick. In that end, without more input from scouts who preferred Deebo Samuel and A.J. Brown, the coach wound up leaning on his own experience with Harry, rather than the red flags his scouts planted, and lost a golden opportunity to fill a hole on his roster."
This offseason was a tacit admission from New England's front office that it whiffed over the past few years. The team handed out $79.5 million in guaranteed money to wideouts Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne along with tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith in free agency.
Their arrivals will make it tough for Harry to break through in 2021. His place on the final squad might be under threat, too.
There's probably little chance the Pats can recoup the first-rounder they invested in Harry, and his public trade request could reduce their leverage even further. Now that other teams know he wants out, they might wait until New England begins making its roster cuts.