When the New York Giants shipped star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns last month, there was speculation that the New England Patriots might make a play for New York’s No. 2 wideout, Sterling Shepard.

As it turns out, that’s exactly what they did.

The Patriots “had interest in Shepard this offseason,” according to a report from the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard, who added a Shepard-to-New England trade “was a real possible alternative.”

That possibility went out the window Wednesday when Shepard signed a four-year, $41 million contract extension with the Giants, ostensibly tying him to East Rutherford for the foreseeable future.

Shepard would have given the Patriots’ underwhelming receiving corps an undeniable boost. The 25-year-old has averaged 63.3 catches, 762 yards and 4.7 touchdowns per season since entering the NFL as a second-round draft pick in 2016.

New England currently lacks proven receiver depth behind Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman. Rounding out the depth chart are Phillip Dorsett, Bruce Ellington, Maurice Harris, Braxton Berrios, Damoun Patterson and special teamer Matthew Slater.

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