The Patriots have taken some flak for their inability to land a game-changing wide receiver this offseason, but it hasn’t been for a lack of trying.

New England appeared to be in on Calvin Ridley until the very end, but he ultimately chose to sign with the Tennessee Titans. Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Mike Evans and Indianapolis Colts veteran Michael Pittman Jr. never truly made it to free agency while Mike Williams was tempted by the powers of a breakfast sandwich and signed with the New York Jets shortly after being released by the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Patriots haven’t had all that many opportunities to sign a true No. 1 receiver, and while reports stated they’ve shifted their focus toward the 2024 NFL Draft, there’s still one avenue left unexplored.

Can’t they just trade for one? Yes, if teams are willing to play ball, and New England has at least acknowledged that option.

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The Patriots “looked into the trade market” for veteran wide receivers, according to Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network, citing a league source with knowledge of the situation.

Caplan could be referring to any number of players, or just the idea of a wide receiver in general. But there are a few names that come to mind when looking at potential trade candidates.

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Tee Higgins requested a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals, frustrated with the idea of playing on the franchise tag. Brandon Aiyuk is due for a massive extension, but the San Francisco 49ers have been known to trade players they’re unable/unwilling to pay. Justin Jefferson, the best wideout in the world in many people’s opinion, could be added to the market should he make it clear he’s unwilling to make things work with the Minnesota Vikings.

Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams, despite not currently being involved in rumors, always seem to find themselves part of conversations this time of year.

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New England likely would have to depart with some pretty important assets to obtain any of the names listed above, but might be willing to depending on how it feels about its next quarterback. If the Patriots make a move, it means they’re confident in accelerating the rebuild. If they don’t, this thing might last a while.

Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer/USA TODAY Sports Images