Like most Patriots, N’Keal Harry is looking forward to the upcoming NFL season.
Unlike the rest of his teammates, the third-year receiver is hoping to play elsewhere.
Harry’s agent, Jamal Tooson, released a statement to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Tuesday formally announcing a trade request. In the statement, Tooson wrote he believes it’s best for Harry to get a fresh start outside of New England. The Pats drafted Harry with the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft.
Harry is the only Patriots wide receiver taken in the first round under Bill Belichick. He totaled 414 receiving yards and four touchdowns the past two seasons, starting 14 of 21 games. He caught 55.6% of his targets, a catch rate well below those of other Pats receivers.
Billed as a downfield threat who could win outside and after the catch, the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder never lived up to pre-draft expectation.
Harry’s rookie training camp yielded inconsistency, then injury, which sidelined him for the first half of the 2019 season. Despite returning in November, he managed barely 100 receiving yards catching passes from Tom Brady through an eventual Wild Card playoff loss.
Last year, surrounded by one of the worst receiving corps in the league, Harry posted the lowest catch rate among Pats wideouts who played at least half the season. Midseason, his personal trainer laid some of the blame for Harry’s struggles at Cam Newton’s feet during an interview with USA Today Sports.
Nonetheless, Newton defended Harry last February during an appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast.
“He was battered,” Newton told the show, referring to the team’s demanding culture and environment.
Tooson’s entire statement is below.
“For the past several months, I have been working in cooperation with the Patriots behind the scenes to put a plan in place to allow N’Keal to thrive in New England. Through two seasons, he has 86 targets, which obviously hasn’t met the expectations the Patriots and N’Keal had when they drafted a dominant downfield threat who was virtually unstoppable at the point of attack in college.
“Following numerous conversations with the Patriots, I believe it’s time for a fresh start and best for both parties if N’Keal moves on before the start of training camp. That is why I have informed the Patriots today I am formally requesting a trade on behalf of my client.
“N’Keal understands a key ingredient to production is opportunity. He will continue to work hard to develop and refine his craft after missing a large portion of his rookie year to injury. His draft-day expectations for his NFL career have not changed. We are confident success is just around the corner for him and will aggressively pursue it.”