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Patriots Wide Receiver Trade Rumor Is Reportedly Swirling

A New England Patriots helmet prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins in 2022.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 09: A detail of a New England Patriots helmet prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

With NFL players fighting for limited roster spots, some notable veterans could get traded or released before the regular season begins.

After packing their wide-receiver room this offseason, speculation has emerged about the New England Patriots potentially dealing Nelson Agholor.

Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus called Agholor a "prime candidate" to get moved because of his bloated $14.9 million cap hit. Henry McKenna of FOX Sports also endorsed the idea to clear cap space and create more playing time for DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, and rookie Tyquan Thornton.

However, Patriots.com's Evan Lazar made a case against moving on from Agholor, whom he considered the "best receiver on the field" during Wednesday's joint practice with the Carolina Panthers.

"Trading Agholor feels like a premature move that could create more depth issues than it's worth for a team that isn't in a position to be jettisoning NFL talent at the wide receiver position, an area where the Patriots have been searching for years now to find productive players," Lazar wrote."

Agholor struggled during the first season of his two-year, $22 million contract. After posting a career-high 896 receiving yards with the Las Vegas Raiders, he tallied just 473 yards and three touchdowns in 2021.

His role could shrink even more after the Patriots acquired Parker from the Miami Dolphins and drafted Thornton in the second round. However, Agholor said he relishes the extra competition.

"It's actually what you need. Growth happens when there's competition with the group and competition across the ball," Agholor told Lazar. "I know those guys are going to make a play with every opportunity they get, so it reminds me any opportunity I get to make a play."

The Athletic's Jeff Howe called an Agholor trade "unlikely" because of his hefty contract. While he suggested they could absorb some of his salary, the Patriots then risk "paying one of their two best receivers to play elsewhere in return for maybe a Saturday draft pick."

Despite his high price tag, outright releasing Agholor also seems like a longshot as the 29-year-old continues to draw rave reviews in training camp. 

The Patriots could instead start the season with a crowded group of wide receivers vying for Mac Jones' attention.