Patriots ‘May Trade’ Disappointing WR, Per Analyst

Getty Nelson Agholor

The New England Patriots used a second-round pick on wide receiver Tyquan Thornton. The blazing-fast Baylor product will be given a chance succeed where veteran Nelson Agholor failed during the 2021 season.

If Thornton and others hit the ground running, one analyst believes, Agholor could be on the trade block.

“In 2020 with the Las Vegas Raiders, wide receiver Nelson Agholor averaged 18.7 yards per reception, but he didn’t provide big-play production with the New England Patriots last year,” Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton wrote in a story published May 14. “The team may trade him following the addition of [DeVante] Parker and rookie second-rounder Tyquan Thornton.”

Agholor, who will turn 29 on May 24, had 473 receiving yards (12.8 yards per reception) and three touchdowns in 15 games last season. In 2020, he had 896 yards and eight touchdowns. He is in the second year of a two-year contract that will pay him almost $10 million in 2022.

Agholor and Harry Could Be on Way Out

Heading into last season, the Patriots hoped Agholor would build on the production he gave the Raiders in 2020. Now, they might be wondering if they can find a taker for him.

Both Parker, whom the Patriots acquired from the Miami Dolphins in April, and Thornton could give the Patriots the sort of downfield threat that Mac Jones didn’t have last year as a rookie.

Back in September 2020, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised Parker.

“He’s got a very, very good skill set,” Belichick said. “He’s a big athlete that runs well, has good hands, good run-after-the-catch ability, and good quickness for his size. He presents a lot of problems on deep balls. He’s a big target on the end of routes in-cuts and crossing routes. He’s strong, can break tackles as a catcher or run player, so he attacks all three levels of the defense and can be productive at all three [receiver spots].”

The Parker trade and the drafting of Thornton instantly cast doubts on the futures of Agholor and fourth-year receiver N’Keal Harry, a first-round pick in 2019 who has not lived up to expectations.

Earlier this month, the team declined to pick up Harry’s fifth-year option, meaning that if the Patriots don’t trade him, he will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022 season.

On April 22, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweeted that Harry’s agent texted him and said Harry has had “positive dialogue with the #Patriots about exploring trade possibilities.”

What Does the Patriots WR Depth Chart Look Like?

If the season started today, the Patriots’ No. 1 receiver would likely be Parker. The team’s leading receiver the last two years, Jakobi Meyers, would settle in at No. 2 with spark plug Kendrick Bourne in at No. 3.

According to ESPN’s Patriots depth chart, Agholor slots in behind Parker followed by the recently signed Ty Montgomery and Malcolm Perry. Thornton would be behind Meyers, followed by 2021 seventh-round pick Tre Nixon and veteran special-teamer Matthew Slater.

For now, Harry and Kristian Wilkerson are behind Bourne.

In Other Patriots News: Vince Wilfork Voted to Organization’s Hall of Fame

One of the Patriots’ greatest nose tackles — and one of the best in NFL history — got his due on Tuesday when the team announced Vince Wilfork’s induction into its Hall of Fame and released this tribute video to acknowledge him.

Wilfork was drafted in the first round and 21st overall by the Patriots in 2004 out of Miami. He played 11 of his 13 NFL seasons with the Patriots. He helped anchor a defense that played a huge role on two Super Bowl teams. Wilfork was voted to five Pro Bowls while making one All-Pro team.

If the old adage that says the best ability is availability is true, Wilfork was as able as anyone. Throughout his career, Wilfork missed just 19 games, with the bulk of that time coming in 2013 when he played in just four games.

Beyond the stats, Wilfork’s impact as a run-stuffer and block absorber can’t be quantified. It will be tough to find anyone who disputes Wilfork’s enshrinement into the Patriots Hall of Fame. In fact, you may find more people campaigning for him to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was nominated among 122 other players for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in September 2022 and then made the cut as one of 25 semifinalists, which is as far as he got in the voting process.

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