Alright, Bleacher Report, we get it. The Patriots’ receiving corps is not great. It’s weaker than gas-station coffee. It’s got more holes than a Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s about as deep as a puddle. Pick your punchline.
But that does not mean the Patriots are going to trade for all of the wide receivers who might make their way across the NFL rumor mill.
Most recently, the Patriots are linked on B/R to Tyler Boyd of the Bengals and Donovan Peoples-Jones of the Browns. At the same time, there is a pitch for Buccaneers star receiver Mike Evans, who wants a new contract to stay with Tampa Bay, and even before that, it was Bears receiver Velus Jones Jr. New England also had been pitched as a team that should take a chance on former Giants signee Kenny Golladay.
You can see a pattern here. The Patriots need another wide receiver and B/R has an almost endless number of ways to get them one.
Patriots Receivers 29th in PFF Rankings
Now, these trade ideas don’t come up out of nothing, of course. The Patriots have plenty of concerns at receiver, having lost Jakobi Meyers this summer to the Raiders, and Nelson Agholor to the Ravens. They brought in Juju Schuster-Smith, and while Schuster-Smith has pushed back against a report that his knee was in bad shape, there is concern about his health going forward.
The Patriots have DeVante Parker opposite Schuster-Smith, and Kendrick Bourne is the No. 3 on the depth chart (though, oddly, Bleacher Report had him as an “honorable mention” trade candidate this week). Behind them are oft-injured second-year receiver Tyquan Thornton, plus rookies Demarrio Douglas and Kendrick Boutte.
In its preseason unit rankings released last week, Pro Football Focus tabbed the Patriots as 29th in the league in receiver talent. Ouch. It got worse, as the site wrote, “It’s just not a group that strikes much fear in the eyes of defensive coordinators. Only Parker and Smith-Schuster earned a 70.0-plus receiving grade in 2022.”
An upgrade could, indeed, be in order, but it would behoove the good folks at Bleacher Report to pick one and stick with him.
One Vote for Peoples-Jones
The vote here is Cleveland’s Peoples-Jones, who is only 24 years old and still on his rookie deal. Ideally, the Patriots would add a pass-catcher who is on the same career arc as quarterback Mac Jones, who is 25 and coming into his third season. He had 61 catches for 839 yards and three touchdowns last season, numbers that look better considering the Browns shuffled between Jacoby Brissett and a very rusty DeShaun Watson at quarterback last year.
Wrote B/R of Peoples-Jones: If Peoples-Jones loses his spot as the top option behind Amari Cooper, the front office could view him as expendable. The Patriots should be interested in an emerging talent like Peoples-Jones as they look to keep pace in the increasingly loaded AFC East.”
Fair point. Another candidate, Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd, also makes some sense, having been a 1,000-yard receiver in his career twice already. But those years came in 2018 and 2019, and though Boyd is a steady option at the position, he is 28 and does not have much upside.
But don’t worry. If you do not like Boyd or Peoples-Jones much, that’s perfectly fine. Other wide receivers will be on the market in the coming weeks ahead of the October 31 trade deadline. And Bleacher Report will be there to suggest the Patriots grab them.