Patriots

Source: Browns trading Odell Beckham Jr. would be a 'shock'

Patriots

We're less than 24 hours into the NFL's legal tampering period, and wide receivers have already flown off the board.

Amari Cooper signed a massive contract to remain with the Cowboys. A.J. Green was given the franchise tag by the Bengals. Randall Cobb signed with the Texans.

But even receivers we didn't realize would be available have been moved. DeAndre Hopkins was traded from Houston to Arizona. Stefon Diggs went from Minnesota to Buffalo

So what does that leave the Patriots, who could be looking to bolster their wideout corps for 2020? 

Robby Anderson of the Jets is still available as a free agent. Same goes for Breshaud Perriman of the Buccaneers, Emmanuel Sanders of the 49ers and Nelson Agholor of the Eagles. (We discussed Perriman and Agholor as possibilities on the latest Next Pats Podcast.)

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Adding via trade is another way to go. It's what they'd have to do for a game-changing type of talent in a receiver market that wasn't all that strong to begin with and has now been depleted since noontime Monday.

 

One big name that's been mentioned consistently in trade rumors is Odell Beckham Jr. But from what I've been told, nothing imminent was in the works involving Beckham. Can't completely rule out deal coming together, but as one NFL source with knowledge of the situation explained it, it'd come as a "shock" if a Beckham trade came to pass. 

New head coach Kevin Stefanski and his staff -- who were busy Monday, coming to terms with tight end Austin Hooper, offensive tackle Jack Conklin and quarterback Case Keenum -- seem to want to make things work with Beckham in their offense. 

That means the Patriots will have to look elsewhere if they're looking for help. The pickings are relatively slim, though, to add to a group of pass-catchers that currently includes Julian Edelman, James White, Rex Burkhead, N'Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers, Matt LaCosse and Gunner Olszewski.

Hooper was thought by most to be the best tight end remaining on the market after the Chargers placed their franchise tag on Hunter Henry. Neither player is a dominant run-blocker, but both have the ability to block while serving as excellent receivers at the position. 

Eric Ebron, formerly of the Colts and Lions, might be the next up on the list of tight ends, though those in the know view him more as a receiver than a true tight end. Because this is not a top-level class of draft-eligible tight ends, evaluators say, the Patriots could be faced with some tough choices in the next few days when it comes to improving their skill positions.

Will they be willing to spend on imperfect options, or hope to strike it rich during the draft?