Patriots Urged Not to Let Bust ‘Waste Another Season on Their Roster’

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Enough is enough. Those are sentiments Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey shared in regard to N’Keal Harry and his time with the New England Patriots.

Tansey called Harry out as one of the three players the Patriots must look to release this offseason. The other two are tight end Devin Asiasi and cornerback Joejuan Williams.

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Asiasi has failed to make an impact after being drafted in the third round in 2020. The UCLA product has been active for just 10 games in two seasons, and he has just 2 receptions for 39 yards and a TD in his brief and uneventful career.

The 24-year-old Williams hasn’t established himself as a starter-level contributor during his three seasons with the Patriots, and he was also arrested on drug charges back in 2020.

While the statistic can be deceptive, it is noteworthy to point out Williams still hasn’t had an interception as a professional despite playing in 36 games. Harry’s situation is even more troubling because of the high draft spot (32nd overall in 2019) and subsequent lofty expectations.

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N’Keal Harry Slammed For Not Reaching His Potential

Tansey pulled no punches in the beginning of his explanation for including Harry in his short list of players the Patriots need to release.

“N’Keal Harry has not lived up to expectations,” Tansey claims.

“The 2019 first-round pick has 598 yards and four touchdowns in his three seasons with the Patriots. Harry was bypassed by free-agent signings Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor during the 2021 season, and he should be viewed as an expendable piece.”

Quite honestly, the Patriots desperately need a player who can do what Harry was expected to produce in the NFL. If Harry were the consistent downfield threat who used his physicality to come up with big plays that forced opposing defenses to account for him, he’d be a near untouchable on the roster. Instead of being a part of a list of players the Patriots should release, the team might be hearing cries from thee fanbase to extend Harry because he would be Mac Jones’ No. 1 weapon.

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Heck, if Harry had become the player he was expected to be, Tom Brady might not have ever retired and Jones would be playing for some other quarterback-hungry team, but I digress.

“The wide receiver would cost the Patriots $2 million dead salary-cap money, which is only $1.2 million less than his projected cap number,” Tansey continued. “It may seem like a small amount, but the Patriots should try to save money in any way possible because of the defensive free agents they have to attempt to sign.”

Chief among the defensive players the Patriots can’t afford to lose is cornerback J.C. Jackson. It’s all a bit of a domino effect, because if Williams was more productive, perhaps Jackson might be expendable. Again, that isn’t the case.

As it is, Jackson is expected to receive the franchise tag which is projected to pay him just above $17 million for the 2022 season. Because there are some likely higher-priced contracts coming, the Patriots will probably look to cut costs wherever they can.

“Harry can’t stick around for another season and contribute so little to the offense, so it would be wise of the Patriots to let him find a better situation than waste another season on their roster,” Tansey concludes.

It may sound like a harsh take, but Tansey is on point here. A case could be made for the Patriots to open up their playbook and to give Jones a few more opportunities to throw the ball downfield. If that portion of the offensive attack was more prevalent in the Patriots’ gameplan, perhaps Harry would be a bigger factor overall. Jones ranked 13th in average attempted air yards per pass. Harry is more likely to succeed in an offense that ranks in the Top 5 or 7 in that category.

With the Patriots’ philosophy not likely to change much–even with now-former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with the Las Vegas Raiders as their new head coach–it would be best for New England to release Harry and to allow him to find a fresh start.

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