Patriots Once Highly Touted Prospect Will Likely Be Gone Soon: Report

Getty NKeal Harry

Back in 2019, N’Keal Harry was expected to turn into the kind of weapon in the passing game the New England Patriots hadn’t had since Randy Moss helped Tom Brady rewrite the record books in 2007.

Three years and just 33 games, 57 receptions and 4 TDs later, one Patriots analyst says the 24-year-old’s days are “probably numbered” in New England. Citing a memo from the NFL which outlined the deadline for guaranteeing the contract of first-rounders selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, and the $1.198 million the team would save by waiving the disappointing receiver, WEEI’s Alex Reimer doesn’t expect Patriots Nation to “forced to watch N’Keal Harry take up space for much longer.”

“Patriots fans likely won’t be forced to watch N’Keal Harry take up space for much longer,” Reimer wrote. “The NFL released fifth-year option numbers for 2019 first-rounders Monday. For a receiver with Harry’s thin resume, the 2023 fifth-year salary stands at $12.425 million. That’s a hard pass.”

N’Keal Harry Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Fans and the Patriots organization have hoped to see Harry blossom into a legitimate downfield threat and the No. 1 receiver archetype they envisioned when he was selected with the 32nd overall pick in 2019. Instead, he has struggled to stay healthy and even when he is on the field, Harry hasn’t made much of an impact.

Harry had what was arguably his impacting role with the Patriots this past season when he found a minor niche as an extra crack blocker of dominant outside pass rushers. Here is one example as he helps wipe out the Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garrett.

Still, New England didn’t draft Harry in the first round for him to top out as a blocker. To make Harry’s tenure with the Patriots tougher to absorb, he has been outperformed by almost every wide receiver taken in the draft after him in 2019.

While Harry has struggled to make an impact, players like DK Metcalf (2nd round), Hunter Renfrow (5th round), Diontae Johnson (3rd round), Darius Slayton (5th round), Mecole Hardman (2nd round), Terry McLaurin (3rd round), Deebo Samuel (2nd round) and A.J. Brown (2nd round) have all massively outperformed Harry.

This list of players essentially represents missed opportunities for the Patriots’ brass as they allowed a congo line of players who presumably would have been better options pass them by.

The list also represents massive underachievement from Harry as he would appear to be at least physically superior to every player above with the exception of the freakishly gifted Metcalf.

The Time Has Come For the Patriots to Move On From N’Keal Harry

Because of what hasn’t happened for Harry in New England, it seems the two sides would be better off going their separate ways.

Harry asked to be traded ahead of the 2021 season but the Patriots didn’t grant him his wish. We don’t know if the Patriots attempted to find value for Harry but couldn’t locate a taker, or if Bill Belichick elected to give the wide receiver another look in 2021.

In any case, it appears we’ve come to the end of the road with this failed player-team relationship. Harry is still young and there is a chance he could find a second life with another team.

As for the Patriots, the search to find the next Moss continues. Will they look for him in the NFL Draft with prospects like Ohio State’s Chris Olave or in free agency in guys like Allen Robinson?

We’ll have to watch and see what happens this spring.

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