In the 2019 draft, the Patriots did something most people didn’t expect; they selected a receiver in the first round. As a few seasons progressed, it was clear this pick was a miss, especially with the likes of Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, and DK Metcalf still on the board. Finally, after three disappointing seasons, the team had seen enough, and they traded him. It seemed like N’Keal Harry would finally breakout each season, but he didn’t. It was quite an underwhelming experience with N’Keal Harry, and the Patriots were close to cutting, but they eventually traded him.
N’Keal Harry’s Time In New England
There were many high hopes when N’Keal Harry got drafted. If Bill Belichick saw enough to pick him, there was talent. Unfortunately, N’Keal’s first season didn’t quite pan out. Although it was with Tom Brady, it seemed like Brady was done with the Patriots by then. Brady didn’t seem to trust N’Keal Harry enough, and he was rarely used during his rookie year. He wasn’t able to play much either and finished with 105 yards.
In his second year, the Patriots signed Cam Newton. Harry didn’t get off to a great start, and there was even some conflict between Harry’s trainer and Cam. The trainer blamed Harry’s lack of production on Cam Newton. There were some flashes of his talent, but overall his second year was also a disappointment because his output wasn’t anywhere near expected. There was a slight increase in production to 309 yards, but he was still underwhelming.
During his third year, this was considered Harry’s last chance with a new quarterback: Mac Jones. Unfortunately, Harry again underperformed, finishing with 184 yards. He had the ability to get contested catches, but he didn’t show enough. By the end of the 2021 season, it looked like it was the end of his New England tenure.
Traded To The Bears
Overall this is a pretty simple trade for both sides. The Bears get N’Keal Harry while the Patriots get a 2024 7th-round pick. This move makes sense for the Bears since they needed a receiver, and it is worth taking a flier on a receiver with potential. Additionally, the Bears lost their best receiver in Allen Robinson and needed someone to fill the void he left. Allen Robinson was great at contested catches, and the Bears might be trying to develop N’Keal into a productive receiver.
It seemed evident that N’Keal Harry was going to depart for the Patriots, so they might as well have gotten a pick for him. Sadly, N’Keal Harry was just a draft miss. But, unfortunately, every team misses on picks, and the Patriots did here. At the time, Harry seemed to fit the Patriots’ needs for a big receiver who could potentially develop into a very productive receiver, but it just didn’t work out.
With the Patriots receiving room containing Devante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, and Tyquan Thornton, there isn’t any room for N’Keal Harry. As a result, there wasn’t much playing time for N’Keal.
This isn’t how the Patriots imagined this would go with N’Keal Harry when they first drafted him. The Patriots needed someone to create separation, and Harry couldn’t be that guy. With the Patriots adding new talent, there isn’t room for N’Keal anymore, and the Bears needed another receiver. There is ultimate upside for the Bears. For now, this is a pretty balanced trade for both sides.
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