Patriots Rumors: Why This Receiver Could Be Traded In Near Future

Agholor has the third-highest cap hit on the team

by

August 11

Don’t be surprised if the Patriots make some space in their crowded receiver room before the start of the regular season.

New England’s current wideout depth chart features holdovers Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and newcomers DeVante Parker (trade) and Tyquan Thornton (rookie). Entering training camp, the assumption was that the first four would get the most work, with the inexperienced, ultra-lean Thornton slowly being worked into the Patriots’ offense.

However, the events of training camp have changed the conversation. Despite the brutal struggles of New England’s offense, Thornton has improved throughout camp and has seen his workload increase as a result. The second-round pick is more than just a burner, featuring a bevy of moves and routes that have allowed him to succeed against veteran defensive backs — and the Patriots have noticed.

“Even recently it appeared that Thornton was a tier below Meyers, Bourne, Agholor and Parker,” Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus wrote Thursday, “but a team source told PFF that the Patriots believe the rookie has earned first-team reps, and they’d like to see how he responds to the increased workload.”

Consequently, Thornton could force the Patriots to move on from one of their established receivers. The top candidate: Agholor, who carries the third-highest salary cap hit on the roster at $14.9 million.

“A source close to the situation expects one of the Patriots’ veteran wide receivers to be traded or released, and that source believes Agholor is the prime candidate,” Kyed wrote. “New England would save $9.9 million by trading him and $4.9 million by cutting him. The cap-strapped Patriots could save money by cutting or trading their other veteran receivers, as well. Doing so with DeVante Parker would save $6.1 million, while Bourne would save $5 million and with Meyers would save $4 million.”

Kyed added that an NFL personnel executive believes the Patriots won’t be able to trade Agholor’s contract, as a team acquiring the 29-year-old would have to pay his $9 million base salary for the 2022 season.

While undeniably fast and talented, Agholor never has lived up to his potential outside of a strong 2020 showing with the Las Vegas Raiders. In his first season in New England, Agholor made just 37 catches for 473 yards and three touchdowns across 15 games.

The Patriots currently have just over $5 million in salary cap space, per cap guru Miguel Benzan.

NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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