Patriots Linked to Jarrett Stidham’s Former College Teammate

Getty Joe Judge and Darius Slayton

Back in 2018, Jarrett Stidham and Darius Slayton were teammates at Auburn. Both were in their final season with the SEC powerhouse program. That year, Stidham found Slayton 35 times for 670 yards and 5 TDs.

Is it possible Slayton and Stidham could be teammates again in 2022? NBC Sports’ Phil Perry believes Slayton is a player the New England Patriots could add for a price as reasonable as a fifth-round pick.

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The Case For the Patriots Trading For Darius Slayton

Perry was discussing potential trade options at wide receiver. Here’s what he said about Slayton:

“At receiver, one name who fits this mold and could be of interest would be Darius Slayton of the Giants,” Perry wrote. “Taken in the fifth round of the 2019 draft out of Auburn, Slayton was an impressive athlete. At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash (86th percentile) at that year’s combine. He also jumped 40.5 inches in the vertical (93rd percentile) and 11-feet-3 in the broad (97th percentile).”

The speed and athleticism should get the Patriots’ attention. They currently don’t have a burner on that level on the roster. Slayton has averaged 14.8 yards per reception during his three seasons in the NFL. He didn’t have a great year in 2021 as he missed 4 games and only started 5 times.

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The limited playing time led to a career-low 26 receptions for 339 yards and 2 TDs.

Slayton could be in line for another disappointing year if he sticks with the Giants since he remains behind Golladay, Toney and recently re-signed Sterling Shepard,” Perry wrote.

Things have perhaps gotten a little more bleak for Slayton, as it pertains to returning to the Giants. The Giants signed former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James who would seemingly be in a position to push Slayton down the depth chart.

Zack Rosenblatt of spoke to Slayton’s current predicament with the Giants.

“As for Slayton: It feels increasingly likely that it’s going to be difficult for him to stick around through the season,” Rosenblatt wrote. “The Giants added James, signed Robert Foster — who has previous ties to coach Brian Daboll — and brought back Board. James and Board contribute on special teams, and there remains a possibility that general manager Joe Schoen uses one of his nine draft picks next month on a wide receiver.”

In addition to the newer additions, there are also the returning players at the WR position that Slayton could potentially have to leapfrog.

“With Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and [Kadarius] Toney locked into roster spots, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for Slayton if any of James, Foster and/or [C.J.] Board make the team. Plus, cutting or trading Slayton would save the Giants $2.5 million, much needed space as they are tight against the cap waiting to find a suitor for cornerback James Bradberry.”

Will the Patriots Be Willing to Trade a Fifth-Round Pick For Slayton?

That sounds like a sure recipe for a separation between the Giants and Slayton. Would that make him a good fit for the Patriots? It likely depends on the price. The Patriots don’t appear to be keen on giving up draft assets in a trade.

That’s understandable considering Slayton hasn’t established himself as the type of needle-moving receiver a team would covet. At best, Slayton would be some insurance in the event the Patriots chose to try to move on from Nelson Agholor.

“On the surface, because Slayton would give the Patriots some size and speed — what they’re looking for this offseason at that spot — and because he may only cost somewhere in the range of a fifth-round pick in a trade, he’d make sense as a Belichick target,” Perry wrote.

Slayton might also have a fan on the Patriots’ coaching staff. His former head coach with the Giants, Joe Judge, is back with New England as a part of Bill Belichick’s staff. Perhaps Judge would endorse the Patriots pursuing Slayton, but New England isn’t likely to trade even a fifth-round selection to get him.

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