Why trading for top-end WR is not good idea for Patriots before NFL Draft – NBC Sports Boston

NFL free agency is more than a week old and the New England Patriots still haven’t added a top-end wide receiver to their offense.

Sure, they did re-sign Kendrick Bourne and added K.J. Osborn, but the lack of a true No. 1 wideout is still a problem for a team that ranked dead last with 13.9 points scored per game last season.

With so few good options left at wide receiver on the free agent market, acquiring an impact player via trade now makes the most sense for New England.

But doing so could come at a huge cost. If the Patriots wanted to pursue a player like Tee Higgins or Brandon Aiyuk, it might cost them at least the No. 34 overall pick (second round) in the 2024 NFL Draft. And not only that, paying this player an extension would be pretty expensive, too.

🔊 Patriots Talk Podcast: The rest of the Patriots’ decade will likely be shaped by Drake Maye vs. trade down decision | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

On the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston’s Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry debated whether the Patriots should trade for a high-end wide receiver.

“I would not trade for a top-end wideout,” Curran said. “Because if I was a top-end wideout, I wouldn’t want to re-sign here — Tee Higgins, Brandon Aiyuk — though I might be somewhat forced to re-sign or negotiate an extension because I realize the team is going to be so bad statistically in 2024 that they’re going to drive my market down.

“I’m going to go from being a really good 90-catch guy for 1,400 yards to a 60-catch guy for 931 yards. So I’m not going to have the same value. So it’s a shotgun wedding that you’re going to have to pay a guy a bounty in — pay him like he’s still a top 10 receiver. And you have to give up a draft pick for him. So I wouldn’t trade for a top-end wideout.”

Perry is a bit torn, primarily because the Patriots still have a ton of salary cap space (around $50 million, per OverTheCap) that they haven’t used yet.

“I’m starting to go a little bit back-and-forth on this because coming into the offseason, they had so much money that I assumed they’d be able to add a real piece to the receiving corps and then draft on top of that and use that second-round pick, for instance,” Perry said. “That pick, to me, has a ton of value in a deep draft at premium positions at the very top of the second round. You’re going to have the ability to get a really good player there. But they are so bereft of talent at wide receiver.”

For Perry, the debate really comes down to acquiring a proven talent like Aiyuk, or opting for an unproven draft pick with lots of potential who won’t cost much over the next couple years.

“Would I rather draft, for example, Xavier Legette, who’s big-bodied and looks, with his build, a little like A.J. Brown. He actually tested more athletically than A.J. Brown did. His style of play, I’ve heard, is actually a little bit more reminiscent of Deebo Samuel’s, where you get it to him, catch-and-run. He ran a 4.39 at 221 pounds. Think A.J. Brown with Deebo Samuel’s game.

“So would you rather have him, who might get to the top of the second round, or would you rather trade that pick and pay Brandon Aiyuk, and have a better idea of what you’re getting at the NFL level? They haven’t spent the money I thought they were going to spend, so it’s just sitting there. Would you rather the certainty of a player like Aiyuk — and it’s not like he’s the No. 1 in San Francisco, great offense there, he’s probably been helped out by that situation quite a bit. Would you rather have the certainty and trade the pick, or use the pick on the cost-effective guy for four years?”

It’s a fascinating debate, one that the Patriots will have to analyze from every possible angle as next month’s draft approaches.

Also in this episode:

  • The case for and against drafting Drake Maye No. 3 overall
  • What changed Phil’s mind on Maye?
  • The importance of developing the QB you draft
The rest of the Patriots’ decade will likely be shaped by Drake Maye vs. trade down decision

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