49ers have need to trade for Patriots WR N’Keal Harry

N'Keal Harry #15 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
N'Keal Harry #15 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The 49ers do have a desire to beef up their wide receiver depth chart entering 2021, and going after Patriots wideout N’Keal Harry could be the right move.

There could be an argument made the San Francisco 49ers would be ideal suitors for New England Patriots third-year wide receiver N’Keal Harry.

According to NFL.com, Harry requested a trade through his agent, saying, “it’s time for a fresh start and best for both parties if N’Keal moves on before the start of training camp.”

The Niners need a No. 3 option on their depth chart, and there’s inevitably going to be someone who thinks it a wise move to once again pair Harry with his former teammate at ASU, Brandon Aiyuk.


Harry’s career trajectory has arguably been worse than another wide receiver San Francisco cast aside last season, Dante Pettis, the latter at least flashing some promise towards the tail end of his rookie season back in 2018.

For Harry, New England’s first-round NFL Draft choice in 2019, the trajectory is looking far worse, as he’s managed a mere 45 receptions for 414 yards and four touchdowns over two years.

N’Keal Harry Receiving & Rushing Table

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
Generated 7/6/2021.

That said, a change of scenery on the cheap could easily prompt Harry to reinvigorate the back end of San Francisco’s depth chart.

Harry, still being on his rookie contract, wouldn’t hinder the Niners too much by the way of financial compensation. According to Over the Cap, Harry would only cost San Francisco $1.4 million in 2021 and an additional $1.87 million in 2022, if he was to stick around on the roster beyond this season.

But that’s not the primary reason or deterrent to the 49ers saying “yes” to a would-be trade for Harry.

49ers have NFL Draft capital, roster room for N’Keal Harry

At 6-foot-4 and only 23 years old, there are plenty of arguments why Harry could turn his career around. And it’s not hard to envision such a bounce-back campaign coming under the tutelage of head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Especially if a player like Aiyuk is already assuming the role of WR1 on the depth chart.

True, the Niners are without a first-round pick the next two years, and they’re also short a sixth-round selection. While Harry isn’t going to be moved for a Round 1 selection, and even a second-round pick would be almost completely out of reach, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would likely kickstart the bidding in Round 3.

The only possible way it would make sense from San Francisco’s vantage point would be if Belichick would accept a seventh-round selection, which doesn’t seem likely.

But it would be better than simply waiving Harry, at least from New England’s vantage point.

It’s easy to argue whether or not the 49ers could win a negotiating battle with Belichick with regards to draft compensation. Yet the bigger element to the question is the kind of receiver the Niners want to deploy.

The need is there for a quality No. 3 wide receiver. But why would the Niners want to dish off draft resources for a reclamation project? Considering there have already been links to available free-agent wideouts, it would make much more sense for San Francisco to go that route instead of hoping someone like Harry can rejuvenate his career, right.

The problem, though, is many a still-available free agent lacks the blend of size and potential, the latter Harry still has considering his age. Unless there was a clear-cut sign he was a total flop outside of game days with the Patriots, the Niners easily can take a low-risk flier.

And no one would complain about a late day-three pick.

The 49ers haven’t solved their current third-tier wide receiver need just yet, but they could easily go out on the trade market to make something happen.

Especially for a still-promising player like Harry.

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