Over the past two seasons, the New England Patriots have seriously struggled at the wide receiver position. In 2019, a 42-year-old Tom Brady was left with running back James White being his number one offensive weapon. While White is a good player, if he’s your best weapon on offence, you’re going to struggle and that’s exactly what Brady did in 2019.
Bill Belichick did try to fix up the receiver room by drafting N’Keal Harry out of Arizona State in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. However, Harry had a horrid rookie year. Consistently looking slow and lethargic, Harry only played seven regular-season games, recording 105 total yards receiving, 12 receptions and 2 touchdowns.
As it became apparent that Harry was not the answer, Belichick made an uncharacteristically bad trade at the deadline; trading a second-round pick for Falcons receiver Mohammad Sanu. Sanu was coming off a high-ankle sprain injury and, on the wrong side of 30, he was of little help. Just before the start of the 2020 season, Sanu was let go by the Pats.
Flashforward to Week Six of the 2020 season. The Patriots have an exciting, dynamic player at quarterback in Cam Newton. However, the problems at pass-catcher remain. Against the Denver Broncos, the lack of separation was so apparent that Pats offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, resorted to having Julian Edelman throw on the ball on two trick plays on the final drive of the game.
The problem is loud and clear: the Patriots need help at wideout and if they don’t get it, then the season is in the books. It’s that bad of a situation. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at three wide receivers the Patriots can trade for ahead of the trade deadline to salvage their season on the offensive side of the ball.
A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals)
A.J. Green has not enjoyed the most fruitful two years with the Cinncinati Bengals. Missing the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury, Green returned this year with an exciting rookie quarterback to throw him the ball. Yet, Green has seemingly checked out mentally this season. Through six games, Green has amassed 216 yards receiving, 22 receptions on 45 targets and 0 touchdowns. He has only registered a yards per reception on 9.8, the lowest of his career by far.
Bill Belichick would be well within his rights to veto this trade considering it could be another Mohammad Sanu situation. However, Green undoubtedly has more talent than Sanu. The reason for Green’s lethargic play this year seems to be more mental than physical. A change of environment and culture could be exactly what Green needs to restart his career and what better place for that to happen than with Bill Belichick in New England?
Michael Gallup (Dallas Cowboys)
To put it bluntly, the Dallas Cowboys are a hot mess right now. With their defence unable to stop a leaky pipe, the Cowboys are facing their season slipping away. Although, while sitting at 2-4, the Cowboys are still well in the race to win the NFC East. With that in mind, their offence seemingly has too many pass-catchers while their defence is seriously lacking talent.
If the Cowboys were to give up a receiver in return for some defensive help or a future draft pick, then it would have to be Michael Gallup. Gallup hit the scene in a big way in 2019. The former Colorado State Ram recorded 1107 yards receiving, 66 receptions and 6 touchdowns in 2019, proving that he can put up number one receiver type production.
Terry McLaurin (Washington Football Team)
Terry McLaurin has the potential to become a top-five wide receiver in football. He’s that good. As a result, the Patriots would have to offer a decent trade bundle to Washington to secure McLaurin’s talents. Yet, the Washington Football Team is not looking to win right now and are very much in a developmental phase, meaning this trade is possible.
McLaurin possesses elite deep pass-catching ability as well as being a great YAC receiver (YAC being so crucial to a tonne of potent NFL offences these days).
In 2019, with a combination of rookie Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum throwing him the ball, McLaurin ranked eleventh out of all wide receivers (min. 35 receptions) in average yards per reception with 15.8 yards per reception. McLaurin registered 919 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Per Sports Info Solutions, McLaurin is leading both wide receivers and tight ends this season in yards after the catch with 271 total yards after catch.
If the Patriots really wanted to go for broke with Cam this year and next, then McLaurin would be a fine addition. However, despite the Football Team’s lack of will to win, it is unlikely that they would let Scary Terry go for cheap.