June 19, 2024

Shocking update: Patriots best free agent deadline trade.

The quarterback isn’t in place yet, but that hasn’t stopped the New England Patriots from pursuing pass-catchers in the early portion of the NFL offseason. After re-signing free-agent tight end Hunter Henry, who led the team in touchdown receptions (6) last year, the Patriots were supposedly in the mix for Denver Broncos’ receiver Jerry Jeudy. According to a report by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, New England was one of multiple teams interested in acquiring the former first-round draft pick as the Broncos agreed to trade the 24-year-old to the Cleveland Browns. Over four pro seasons, Jeudy has made 211 catches for 3,053 yards and 11 touchdowns. He secures 59.3 percent of targets while averaging 53.6 receiving yards per game.

With Jeudy no longer a possibility, the Patriots will likely turn to their attention to the upcoming free agency period. Carrying more salary cap space than any other NFL team, New England can make a realistic play for a top-tier receiver but the pool has shrunk in recent days. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed Mike Evans while the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts placed franchise tags on Tee Higgins and Michael Pitman, respectively. The secondary options to explore include Cincinnati’s Tyler Boyd, Jacksonville’s Calvin Ridley and Arizona’s Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. All three would have been New England’s leading receiver last season. The Patriots were led by running back Ezekiel Elliott in receptions (51) and sixth-round rookie receiver Demario Douglas in receiving yards (561).

Ridley posted the best numbers of the aforementioned three free agents, totaling 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns on 76 catches. Pro Football Focus recently named Ridley an ideal fit for the Pats, claiming he’s “better than any receiver on the team’s roster.”

Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins biggest catches - ESPN

Related: Patriots’ Receiver Among ’12 Worst Free-Agent Signings’ Meanwhile, Patriots’ free-agent receiver Kendrick Bourne is expected to draw interest from multiple teams despite coming off an ACL tear. He was on pace for more than 800 yards and eight touchdowns before going down in Week 9. The NFL Draft will provide New England with options, too, especially at No. 3 and No. 34 overall. Somehow, some way, the Patriots must find a way to upgrade the NFL’s 28th-ranked aerial attack.

 

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