Patriots

Patriots reportedly set to continue pursuit of a wide receiver, ‘possibly via trade’

New England has explored free agent upgrades at wide receiver, but "wasn't comfortable overspending."

Patriots wide receivers
The Patriots offense huddles during a game against the Dolphins in Jan. 2022. AP Photo/Doug Murray

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Celtics host the Jazz at TD Garden. Boston returns home after going 4-0 on its recent road trip.

And tomorrow, the Bruins are also back home to face the Lightning at 7 p.m.

The Patriots and free agency: A week into the official free agent period in the NFL offseason, the Patriots have so far been unable to add to the team’s wide receiver depth chart.

This, according to ESPN analyst Jeremy Fowler, has been a priority for New England. Despite signing both Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in the 2021 offseason, Bill Belichick was reportedly interested in trying to acquire another receiver.

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“New England wanted to add wide receiver help alongside Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers but wasn’t comfortable overspending,” wrote Fowler in a recent column. Former Falcon wideout Russell Gage was identified as a possibility, but the price was too high (Gage ended up agreeing to a three-year deal worth $30 million with the Buccaneers).

Another factor to consider is that New England doesn’t want to mess with its potential compensatory draft pick formula. Having lost cornerback J.C. Jackson and center Ted Karras to larger contracts elsewhere in free agency, the Patriots could be in line for a compensatory third round pick. Making a big splash of their own with a signing could derail that process, as Fowler pointed out.

“The Patriots are well aware of this and don’t want to compromise that,” Fowler noted.

“But,” he added, “expect them to continue to comb the market on wideouts, possibly via trade.”

The other route the Patriots could take would be picking a wide receiver in the upcoming NFL Draft, which gets underway on April 28.

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