N’Keal Harry wants to move on from the Patriots, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see plenty of the wide receiver in Foxboro this summer.
Harry’s trade desire recently was made public through a statement from his agent. Still, the 2019 first-round pick reportedly plans to attend New England’s training camp, which kicks off July 28. We might even see Harry suit up for the Patriots in preseason action, as ESPN’s Mike Reiss in a column published Sunday indicated if a trade is to go down, it probably won’t be until later in August.
“After the agent for 2019 Patriots first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry formally requested a trade almost two weeks ago, it highlighted how Harry’s future with the team is uncertain,” Reiss wrote. “The trade request also had me thinking of past ‘change-of-scenery’ deals in the (Bill) Belichick era, when the Patriots gave up a once-highly-touted player in exchange for a similar player. The 2006 deal in which wide receiver/returner Bethel Johnson (2003 second-rounder) was shipped to the Saints for defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan (2003 first-rounder) was one that came to mind, and if the Patriots ultimately trade Harry, that’s the type of deal I could envision — and it might be more likely to come later in the preseason.”
The Patriots shouldn’t be in a rush to trade Harry. Even if Harry doesn’t have a future in New England, he still can be of value in training camp and the preseason when it helps to have expanded personnel across all positions. The Pats aren’t exactly loaded at WR either, so Harry should have the opportunity to compete for a New England roster spot if he wants it.
And if a separation becomes inevitable, New England can find a deal for him closer to Week 1 — a strategy Belichick has used multiple times over the past two decades.