Trading Julio Jones to the Titans made some around the Falcons organization panic at the thought of this new-look offense without a second receiving option. Calvin Ridley should have no issues stepping into the team’s first option role but could a disgruntled Patriots receiver be the answer behind him?
According to N’Keal Harry‘s agent, Jamal Toonson, the former first-round pick has formally requested a trade entering his third season in the NFL. He’s recorded a combined 45 catches for 414 yards and four touchdowns in his two seasons in New England. “N’Keal understands a key ingredient to production is opportunity. He will continue to work hard to develop and refine his craft after missing a large portion of his rookie year to injury,” Toonson said in a statement. “His draft-day expectations for his NFL career have not changed. We are confident success is just around the corner for him and will aggressively pursue it.”
Bill Belichick added Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne this offseason, effectively putting Harry with the second-team offense. He still has three years left on his rookie deal, one of which is an option that won’t need to be picked up until spring of 2023. Terry Fontenot has signed or traded for a particular type of player this offseason, and Harry doesn’t fit the bill.
Arthur Smith has revived the career of Corey Davis, who is a similar big-bodied receiver as Harry. In 2020, Davis posted career numbers in receptions and receiving yards before grabbing a long-term deal. He recorded 65 catches for 984 yards and five touchdowns as the No. 2 to A.J. Brown. But Harry doesn’t separate as well as Davis does, and what Harry does well, the Falcons have on the roster.
Harry couldn’t beat out Russell Gage, Kyle Pitts, or Hayden Hurst in target share in Arthur Smith’s offense, which targets tight ends more than any other offensive scheme. Harry is a red zone threat given his massive frame and physical style of play, which is somewhere the Falcons have struggled mightily the past few years — ranked 26th in red-zone scoring, only connecting on 53.4% of its drives last year.
Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire
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