On Monday afternoon, New England Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry’s agent formally requested a trade. Most of the New England beat reported that Harry is buried on the depth chart and was unlikely to play in 2021.
If traded, Harry would come at an affordable cost. He’d ost the San Francisco 49ers $1.4 and $1.8 million over the next two seasons. I’d imagine Harry could be had for a Day 3 conditional pick or a player swap.
Leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft, the 49ers were fans of N’Keal Harry and supposedly liked him more than Deebo Samuel before New England selected Harry in the first round. Both John Lynch and Adam Peters were at Arizona State’s Pro Day.
If you’re trading a player two years into his rookie contract, he probably hasn’t lived up to his draft value. Despite not being a deep threat, Harry has only caught 55% of his passes in the NFL. In two seasons, he has 45 receptions for an average of 9.2 yards. His career-long is 30 yards. Harry has been underwhelming in New England, to say the least.
Why would Shanahan be interested? Well, the names after Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk aren’t anything to write home about. Richie James, Jalen Hurd, Mohamed Sanu, Jauan Jennings, and River Cracraft aren’t scaring opposing defenses.
Harry isn’t either.
James is the one name you feel comfortable getting the ball in his hands, as he can create for himself. That’s not the case with anyone else. Sure, Hurd has, but in the preseason two years ago.
Harry is a good athlete and impressed as a rookie in limited action. He had five carries for 49 yards, and New England used him on a few underneath routes as well. He’s not sudden, but he’s quick. Plus, Harry doesn’t go down easy.
In San Francisco, where he’d have all of the space in the world to operate. Harry could be the Niners “power slot” wideout who runs crossing routes and gets matched up on linebackers. Throw in an occasional jet sweep and back shoulder/slot fade, and he’s worth a Day 3 pick.
Harry would be a low-risk, medium-reward type of move for the 49ers. The Patriots drafted him to be their No. 1 target, and it’s evident that’s not who N’Keal is. Situations matter and life would be much different for Harry in the Bay Area.
Catching flack for not producing can wear on these players. However, a different environment could be exactly what Harry needs to get his career on track. The question is, should that happen in San Francisco?