Patriots Nix Trade Pursuit of Pro Bowl WR Over 4th-Round Pick

Patriots reported trade target Keenan Allen instead landed with the Bears this week.

Getty Patriots reported trade target Keenan Allen instead landed with the Bears this week.

When the opening of the NFL season comes and the Patriots’ 53-man roster is set, it is doubtful that fans around New England will be much interested in recounting the near-misses the team had here in mid-March. But do far in free agency, the Patriots—despite a nine-figure trove of cap space—have done little to add impact players and only have “almosts” and “we-were-in-ons” to show for their efforts.

The latest is Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who would be the type of No. 1 threat the Patriots sorely lack at the position. Allen was available in a trade this week, and on Thursday, he went to the Bears in a trade for a fourth-round pick.

That was apparently “too rich” for the Patriots. Allen caught 108 passes for 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns last season, and earned a Pro Bowl spot, even with starting quarterback Justin Herbert missing four games.

From Andrew Callahan and his colleague at the Boston Herald, Doug Kyed, on Twitter/X: “The #Patriots called about Allen, among others, per @DougKyed. Looks like a fourth-rounder was too rich. Allen is coming off a 1,243-yard season and turns 32 next month, while in the final year of his contract with an $18.1 million base salary.”

Keenan Allen Slated to Make $23 Million Next Year

Obviously, there are reasons that Allen was available for trade, and the combination of age and salary ranks No. 1 on that list. Allen is slated for a $23 million cap hit this year. But considering the Patriots’ options now for acquiring a top-line receiver, passing on making a move for Allen puts the Patriots that much closer to returning essentially the same disaster of a receivers room that they had last year.

The Patriots missed out on top target Calvin Ridley, who was their first “oh-so-close” miss this offseason. They were favored to land Ridley, but he instead shifted to the Titans late in the process on a four-year, $92 million deal.

Getting Allen would have been a simpler process—Allen would not have a say in where he lands if he’s traded. He is expensive and relatively old, but the team needs some Band-Aid solutions if it wants to be competitive in 2024, and Allen has only one year left on his contract. He would not be a burden going forward.

The Patriots could easily have offered their own fourth-rounder, which is No. 103 overall. The pick the Bears sent to the Chargers is No. 110 overall. The opportunity was there for the Patriots.

Patriots Have Disappointed in Free Agency

As it stands, the end result of the Patriots’ enormous trove of cap space so far has been re-signing their own players, the guys who helped the team go 4-13 last season. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett and running back Antonio Gibson are the top signees, coming over from a Washington team that went 4-13 as well.

The Patriots added lineman Chukwuma Okorafor (who had been benched in Pittsburgh), tight end Austin Hooper (fourth team in four years) and Sione Takitaki, expected to be a third linebacker on the outside.

It’s hardly the kind of haul many were hoping for with the Patriots.

The absence of a new receiver is the most disappointing aspect, as Kendrick Bourne returns in what would appear to be the No. 1 role as of now. Bust signee Juju Smith-Schuster is still on board, as is another bust, second-rounder Tyquan Thornton.

Demario Douglas, the team’s 5-foot-8 sparkplug, is the top returning receiver from 2023.

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