When the New England Patriots selected N’Keal Harry at No. 32 in the 2019 NFL Draft, they hoped to find a special wide receiver to support Tom Brady. Three years later, there’s a chance neither of them will be on the roster to start the 2021 NFL season.
Harry’s first season in New England got off to a bad start. He suffered an ankle injury in training camp that kept him out until the end of November. He finally made his debut and scored Brady’s first career touchdown on November 24, but it turned out to be one of his only bright spots in a difficult first year.
After Brady’s departure, New England expected Harry to step up into his second season and become a target for Cam Newton. Instead, the former first-round pick finished behind Jakobi Meyers (81), Damiere Byrd (77) and James White (62) in goals in 14 games with 57.
- N’Keal Harry Stats (2019-’20): 45 receptions, 414 receiving yards and four touchdowns, 55.6% catch rate in 21 games
As part of ESPN’s 2021 NFL training camp previewPatriots loss writer Mike Reiss highlighted a key player in danger of not making the 53-man roster and chose Harry.
Calling a third-year player a veteran might be questionable, but Harry not only has a packed depth chart ahead of him in Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne, but also competition for No. 4 or 5 roles from others who They seem to provide more value on special teams (like Gunner Olszewski as a kick returner) or have a standout trait (like Isaiah Zuber’s speed). Harry’s contract could help him stay, as the Patriots would take a $ 2 million limit hit for letting him go. Ultimately, that could buy the 2019 first-round pick a bit more time to see if things change. “
While avoiding a $ 2 million cap is a decent incentive to retain Harry, it may not matter too much for New England. The Patriots have $ 14 million in salary space entering training camp and a Stephon Gilmore Extension it could create even more flexibility.