The Patriots reportedly were active in the trade market this week, and they could be competing with an AFC East rival for a star wide receiver.

New England touched base with the Chargers to find out about Justin Herbert’s availability given Jim Harbaugh’s ties to J.J. McCarthy, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran. Los Angeles said no, and the Patriots secured their potential franchise quarterback when they drafted Drake Maye third overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

De facto general manager Eliot Wolf and head coach Jerod Mayo know they need to upgrade the roster to help out Maye.

Brandon Aiyuk seemed like a possible trade target since the wide receiver might be at an impasse in contract negotiations with the 49ers. Those rumors grew after San Francisco took a wide receiver in the first round, though general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan downplayed the idea of a trade.

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However, longtime San Francisco reporter Michael Silver revealed Deebo Samuel was more likely to get traded than Aiyuk. CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson on Friday reported the Patriots began preliminary talks with the Niners for Samuel. Boston Sports Journal’s Mike Giardi supported Silver’s report that Samuel was more likely to get traded, and he reported New England and the Bills have an interest in him.

Buffalo decided not to take a wide receiver in the first round and traded back twice Thursday night. The Bills still can take a wideout after acquiring the No. 33 pick from the Carolina Panthers, but general manager Brandon Beane might opt for more star power after trading Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans this offseason.

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It seemed like the Patriots wanted a high price for the No. 3 pick and weren’t tempted by the offers they got to move out of that spot. New England might want to try to get the best deal to acquire Samuel, but if it misses out, he could wind up to a division rival.

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