The New England Patriots placed a notable wide receiver on injured reserve Wednesday, just over 24 hours after trimming their roster down to the final 53-man mark.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Patriots placed N’Keal Harry on injured reserve on Wednesday afternoon. The 23-year-old sustained a shoulder injury in a preseason game and expects to be out a few more weeks while he recovers.
Placing Harry on injured reserve means that the Patriots will hold onto the 2019 first-round pick for at least a little while longer. The former Arizona State wideout hasn’t met high expectations since arriving into the league, so New England had shopped him around this summer. Harry reportedly requested a trade in early July, but the organization decided to hold onto him through the preseason.
But putting Harry on IR, the Patriots will free up a roster spot for as long as he remains on the injured list. When he’s able to come back, New England will need to make a more definitive decision on his future with the team.
#Patriots placing WR N’Keal Harry (shoulder) on IR. Should be back in a few weeks.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 1, 2021
Ins his two season with the Patriots, Harry has made just 45 catches for 414 yards and four touchdowns in 21 games played. That’s far from the production any team would want out of a first-round wide receiver.
However, the Patriots haven’t exactly had the most consistent quarterback play during Harry’s tenure with the team. Between an underwhelming Tom Brady performance in 2019 and Cam Newton last year, New England’s wide receivers haven’t exactly been set up for success.
Although rookie Mac Jones will take over the starting quarterback job for the Patriots this season, Harry’s agent maintained that a fresh start would be best for both parties. Head coach Bill Belichick countered by saying on Wednesday that he expected the 23-year-old wide receiver to “make a big contribution” this year.
Time will tell what becomes of Harry in New England. In the meantime, he’ll focus on getting healthy enough to play in 2021.