If the New England Patriots want to dabble in the higher-end free agency market, they might have to explore, well, a trade instead.
After playing the 2020 (and 2019, for that matter) seasons with few receiving weapons, the cap-loaded Pats are expected to be in the hunt for some wide receivers in free agency.
Two players identified as possible targets for the Patriots are Detroit Lions wideout Kenny Golladay and Chicago Bears star Allen Robinson. Both are free agents this offseason, but eligible to get the franchise tag by their current team.
And according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, it’s possible both end up getting tagged this offseason.
“(Robinson and the Bears) could not get a long-term deal worked out as they negotiated into the season, but sources said the Bears are prepared to tag him in an effort to continue that process,” La Canford wrote. “He is a vital cog on an offense that remains under great duress with coaching and management jobs on the line. Even with a murky QB situation, securing their best weapon in the pass game is imperative.”
He then noted this about Golladay.
“Many teams view him as the best WR option out there, but keeping him on the tag at around $16M, when the open market may bear around $19M, would make a lot of sense. Multiple league sources have told me Golladay will get the tag after his relationship with the prior regime in Detroit got rocky over prolonged extension negotiations. Could this be an eventual tag and trade? People around the league wouldn’t rule that out with the Lions rebuilding and trying to amass picks.”
Now, these players getting tagged doesn’t necessarily close the door on the Patriots potentially landing them.
However, it would complicate things quite a bit.