Latest On Patriots’ N’Keal Harry

Given the returning players at the receiver position in New England, along with newcomers DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton, much has been talked about regarding what future N’Keal Harry has on the team, if any. As noted by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, a position change could be in order for him to remain on the roster. 

[RELATED: Harry On His Way Out Of New England?]

An important return to the practice field is upcoming, as the team’s mandatory minicamp begins next week. That will mark Harry’s first work with the team since the end of the season, as he has been absent from the voluntary portion of offseason activities. During that time, his agent has reportedly been working on facilitating a trade out of New England.

The final first round pick of the 2019 draft, Harry hasn’t lived up to the expectations he has faced during his NFL tenure. His best season came in 2020, when he posted 33 receptions for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Last year, though, after New England brought in Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor in free agency, he started just four contests and played less than half of the team’s offensive snaps. Despite his lackluster production, there were teams reported to be interested in trading for him.

Doing so would involve a degree of risk of course, but since the Patriots – as expected – declined Harry’s fifth-year option, an acquiring team would only be adding him for one season. Improving his statistical production during the upcoming campaign would be crucial for the 24-year-old heading into free agency. There could still be a path for him to make the Patriots out of training camp, though.

Reiss writes that converting from receiver to tight end might be the Arizona State alum’s “best chance” to catch on to the end of the roster. If he were able to do that, he would still find stiff competition for playing time in the form of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, to whom New England doled out lucrative contracts last offseason. Harry could find himself third on the depth chart, however, as 2020 third-rounders Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene have had similarly disappointing careers to date.

How Harry performs next week – and, perhaps more importantly, where he lines up in practice – will therefore be a key storyline to watch in New England.

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