The Green Bay Packers still have quite a bit to figure out about their receiving room before next offseason with nearly every wideout currently on their roster due to become a free agent in 2022, but could they find some clarity on the trade market in the coming weeks?
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com recently raised the possibility of the Packers trading a late-round draft pick to acquire third-year wide receiver N’Keal Harry from the New England Patriots, identifying Green Bay as one of the “best fits” for the disgruntled former first-round selection.
Harry, who caught 45 passes for 414 yards and four touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Patriots, formally requested a trade last week (via his agent, Jamal Tooson) in hopes of finding a “fresh start” with a new team for 2021. The asking price on him is also anticipated to be within the Packers’ means.
The Packers have been searching for a consistent WR2 to place opposite Davante Adams for years. Although Harry has struggled in New England as a part-time starter, he possesses the size and running skills to shine in an offense that features some catch-and-run elements. Aaron Rodgers’ status remains in question, but if he returns as the QB1, the MVP might be able to sprinkle some magic dust on Harry to help him re-discover his game as a rugged playmaker on the perimeter.
The latest Packers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Packers newsletter here!
Assessing Harry’s Potential Value to Packers
Trade scenarios involving the Packers and notable wide receivers have practically grown on trees over the past several offseasons. Whether it be the desperate pleas for Odell Beckham Jr. or Julio Jones or something that gained real traction — such as the talks Green Bay had with Houston about Will Fuller prior to last year’s trade deadline — the fervor for the Packers to add a new impact pass-catcher has been undeniable.
Now, the Packers did trade up in the third round of the 2021 draft to take Clemson standout Amari Rodgers and could potentially get a Year 1 impact from him as either a return specialist or slot receiver. The future, however, will need more than just him with Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and Devin Funchess all due to hit free agency.
In that way, someone like Harry could be extremely tempting for the Packers. He still has two more years left on his rookie deal with reasonable cap charges of about $2.754 million in 2021 and $3.213 million in 2022. He also still has the ceiling of a first-round receiver, one who would be getting a significant upgrade in quarterback play switching from Cam Newton to Aaron Rodgers — assuming the reigning NFL MVP returns.
Harry does fit the mold of the Packers’ ideal receiver, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 225 pounds with the physicality to win contested grabs. He isn’t lacking a speed element to his game, either, clocking an official 4.53 40-yard-dash time during the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
The Packers would no doubt be gambling if they made a move for Harry given his underwhelming output in his first two seasons, but the leverage alone could make him worth if the asking price is as low as expected. Brooks estimated “a conditional sixth- or seventh-round selection might be the Pats’ best bet at this stage.”