Just over two years ago, the New England Patriots tried to address a need at wide receiver by selecting former Arizona State standout N’Keal Harry at the 2019 Draft. The franchise used its first round pick on Harry, making him the fourth pass-catcher to come off the board.
Fast foward to 2021 and the rising third-year wide receiver is in danger of not making the Patriots 53-man roster.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, Harry sits on the cusp of getting cut by New England after consecutive years of underperforming. The Patriots were aggressive in upgrading their receiving corps this offseason by adding Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, which could leave the former first round pick without a place to slot in.
Reiss even mentioned that players such as Gunner Olszewski or Isaiah Zuber may be given the nod over Harry because they provide unique skills that the Arizona State star hasn’t shown.
Calling a third-year player a veteran might be questionable, but Harry not only has a crowded depth chart ahead of him in Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne, but also competition for the No. 4 or 5 role from others who seem to provide more value on special teams (such as Gunner Olszewski as a punt returner) or have a standout trait (such as Isaiah Zuber’s speed),” Reiss wrote. “Harry’s contract might help him stick around, as the Patriots would take a $2 million cap hit for letting him go. That could ultimately buy the 2019 first-round pick a bit more time to see if things turn around.”
NE took N'Keal Harry 32nd overall in 2019. Now he's in a fight just to make the team. https://t.co/odrjIebchn
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) July 6, 2021
Harry is due guaranteed base salaries of $1.4 million this year and $1.9 million next year, so the Patriots won’t be eager to cut him. However, after the 23-year-old has made just 45 catches for 414 yards in his first two seasons, the organization might have no choice.
Harry will have one more chance to prove himself as a valuable contributor later this month in training camp. If he doesn’t, he might be in need of a new team by September.