Patriots WR N’Keal Harry requests trade — Should the Eagles pursue him?

On Tuesday, former first round pick N’Keal Harry requested a trade from the New England Patriots. His agent released this statement to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo:

As is the case with nearly every player who ends up on the trade block, Eagles fans are speculating whether or not the team will make a move to add said player. In Harry’s case, he certainly has the talent to be a starting X receiver in this league, he just hasn’t seen a high volume of targets during his first two years with New England.

During his two years with the Patriots, Harry has accumulated 45 receptions on 81 targets for 414 yards and 4 touchdowns. His playing time went up significantly last season, playing 58 percent of the offensive snaps as compared to the 19 percent he saw as a rookie.

Despite catching just 2 touchdowns in 2020, Harry was still second in the team in receiving touchdowns. New England had one of the worst passing attacks in football last season, ranking 30th in total passing yardage and totaling just 12 touchdowns through the air. Cam Newton was the starting quarterback for the majority of the season, and he put forth one of the worst stat lines from any starting quarterback in the NFL. Newton finished the year with just 8 passing touchdowns to 10 interceptions, with a passer rating of 82.9.

In Harry’s agent’s statement above, it’s clear that the third year wideout is just looking for an opportunity to produce at a high clip. There will be no shortage of opportunities if Harry is traded to Philadelphia. Although the team has added receivers in the first round of the past two NFL Drafts, there are still a lot of questions marks surrounding the group. Especially at the X receiver position, that’s presumably manned by Travis Fulgham at the moment.

Fulgham did a lot of great things last season, leading the Eagles offense in receiving yards with 439. But his playing time went down significantly as the year progressed, to the point where he barely even saw the field by season’s end. It’s impossible to know whether Fulgham is a true NFL receiver or not, and he doesn’t have much true competition for the X position as the team prepares for training camp. You could say J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is his competition, but let’s be real, JJAW isn’t about to beat Fulgham out for a starting spot.

Harry, on the other hand, would provide real competition for Fulgham at the X spot. Nick Sirianni has said time and time again how much he values competition during practice. Giving Fulgham a camp opponent like Harry would only bring the best out of both receivers.

Harry still has two years remaining on his rookie contract and he’ll carry a cap hit of just $2.75 million in 2021. The Eagles have the cap space to make a deal work, and they have the draft capital to spare a late round pick on this former first rounder. The organization will have a pair of fifth round picks in the 2022 draft; using one of them to acquire Harry is an easy no-brainer.

The Eagles wide receiving corps already has a ton of young potential in the waiting, adding someone like Harry would only increase that potential and give the offense another formidable threat at the X position.

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