The New England Patriots overhauled their wide receiving corps this offseason, and they’ll be hoping those investments help make Cam Newton’s and Mac Jones’ lives easier.
After the Patriots signed Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency, fans immediately questioned what role, if any, would be left for N’Keal Harry. Even following Julian Edelman’s retirement, Harry, in a best-case scenario, would start as the team’s No. 4 receiver.
Taking that into account, it’s easy to see why Harry requested a trade from the organization through his agent before the start of training camp. The Patriots haven’t shown any real incentive to unload the 2019 first-rounder, and maybe they should keep it that way for now.
In speaking to reporters on Friday, Harry revealed the adjustments he made to his game this offseason. The 23-year-old noted he spent his first two years trying to out-muscle defenders and has worked tirelessly to restore the “wiggle” that made him so dominant in college.
Could a bounce-back season be in the works for N’Keal Harry?
At this point, we know better than to have blind faith in Harry. However, these comments indicate the third-year wideout has been humbled after a disappointing first two years and is committed to becoming a consistent contributor for the Patriots in a different manner.
We know what you’re thinking: What about the trade request? Fair point, but Harry had a different tone about his standing with the franchise after Friday’s practice. While he didn’t deny sanctioning the request, the Arizona State product acknowledged he’s content being a Patriot.
“Right now I’m really not worried about anything trade-wise,” Harry said in his first public comments since the trade request. “I’m focused on how to be the best version of myself on the field, going out there, working hard and improving every day.”
You have to think Harry is in Bill Belichick’s doghouse after he went behind the head coach’s (and general manager’s) back, but all could be forgiven if Harry has a productive camp. And you know what? The latest buzz suggests he looks like a different player in the early goings.
Plus, Belichick said he had a “good conversation” with Harry about the trade request. Hm.
Patriots fans have probably already written Harry off. But hear us out for a moment. Since he was drafted, the former Sun Devil has been one of the worst WRs in the league at creating separation on his routes. If he rediscovered some (or most) of the elusiveness that made him such a versatile weapon at Arizona State, who’s to say he couldn’t make an impact on the 2021 Patriots?
Harry will obviously have to put his money where his mouth is, but if we were in New England’s shoes, we wouldn’t be quick to pull the plug on the young wideout just yet.