Patriots ‘In the Mix’ for Jets’ Wide Receiver: Report

Denzel Mims

Getty The New England Patriots are "in the mix" for a New York Jets' wide receiver up for trade.

As alternatives to DeAndre Hopkins go, Denzel Mims wouldn’t top many people’s lists, but the New England Patriots are “in the mix” for the New York Jets’ wide receiver.

Heavy’s Senior NFL Reporter Matt Lombardo named the Pats, along with AFC rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers, as teams keen on trade candidate Mims.

Mims will be released if the Jets can’t find a suitor willing to strike the right deal, according to the New York Post’s Brian Costello. The Patriots have the incentive to work with their familiar foe from the AFC East because head coach Bill Belichick’s offense still needs help at receiver.

Signing Hopkins would have solved the problem, but the Pats didn’t get near to what the Tennessee Titans offered the five-time Pro Bowler. Belichick could be looking to fix the problem on the cheap, and a sensible trade package to acquire a former second-round pick might fit the bill.

Jets’ Disappointment Has Qualities Patriots Need

There’s good reason for Lombardo to consider the Patriots among the best fits for Mims. Specifically, the 25-year-old could add the game-breaking speed the Pats are currently missing among their wide receiver corps.

As Lombardo pointed out, Mims can “stretch the field vertically primarily as a slot receiver.” The Patriots aren’t short of possession-style inside receivers like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton and rookie Demario Douglas, but there’s isn’t a true burner who can work the perimeter.

DeVante Parker doesn’t qualify, despite the Patriots making a show of faith by extending the 30-year-old’s contract. Mims has flashed glimpses of a big-play threat on the outside since being selected 58th overall in the 2020 NFL draft.

This play from his rookie year, highlighted by producer Rob Taub, when Mims burned the Los Angeles Chargers, is a good example.

Plays like that have been few and far between since, but Mims’ ability to take the top off of defenses is obvious.

He offered a reminder of that talent against the Patriots in Week 10 last season, although Fox Sports’ Henrry McKenna questioned the legality of this catch.

One thing this contested showed was how 6-foot-3, 207-pound Mims can be a physical mismatch on the outside. That’s something the Patriots need, although Mims would be a risk given how quickly he’s fallen out of favor with the Jets.

Patriots Can’t Ignore Risk of Any Deal for Draft Flop

Little has gone right for Mims with the Jets from the moment a hamstring injury landed him on injured reserve for the first part of his debut campaign. A concussion, as well as hip and finger problems, have also contributed to Mims making a mere seven starts since 2020.

Health hasn’t been his only issue, though. Not when Mims feuded with former Jets’ offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who wanted more than “go routes and deep posts” from the wideout, according to Tyler Calvaruso of Jets Wire.

Mims eventually requested a trade before last season, but there were no takers. The absence of suitors for a player with Mims’ raw athleticism was telling.

He’s damaged his standing during a trying and disappointing spell at MetLife Stadium, and while the Patriots often welcome a reclamation project, Belichick should be wary of the risk after missing the playoffs in two of the last three seasons.

New England’s one-dimensional offense has been the biggest problem, but quarterback Mac Jones won’t spark any meaningful improvement in the passing game without better targets. The Patriots should find those targets by turning to proven options, rather than taking a speculative punt on so-far untapped potential.