After overhauling their offensive coaching staff, the next step for the New England Patriots is to surround quarterback Mac Jones with talent.
Considering the lack of free-agent options, the Patriots will have to shift their attention to the trade market if they hope to land a big-name wide receiver. So, which wideouts could be in play for Bill Belichick this offseason?
Curran: Back to elite? That'll be a matter of dollars and sense for Pats, Jones
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport joined our Phil Perry on a new Next Pats Podcast to share his perspective on a few of the possible WR trade options for New England.
Next Pats Podcast: Ian Rapoport gives insider perspective on which big name receivers may be available for Patriots | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube
Perry asked Rapoport whether he believes the following wide receivers will still be with their respective teams in 2023.
Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
"That is a tough one for me," Rapoport said. "Because I would be inclined to say yes, but players get to choose. We just saw an offseason where several receivers were like, 'Pay me or I'm out.' I don't know that Tee Higgins is going to do that, but he does have the talent, the ability to say, 'I would like a new contract and you should give me one.' So I do not know the answer to that, but it is definitely a big question this offseason."
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
"I think the interest would be different in Jerry Jeudy," Rapoport said. "He was available all trade deadline and nobody really made a huge push there. Now, might he be traded? Sure, because you have a new coach who's gonna come in, look at the receivers, and go, 'We can do better than this.' Every new coach comes in and wants his own guys. So could he be traded? Yeah. But I don't know that it'll be the feeding frenzy that maybe he would expect."
DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
"I would go with not," Rapoport said. "There was a lot of interest at the trade deadline. I thought he might get dealt. I would expect similar interest. I'm not going to say they're rebuilding, but retooling a little bit and Kyler's probably not going to play the first half of the season. I'm gonna go with not on that one."
Hopkins is an intriguing fit for the Patriots, but his strained relationship with new Pats offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is well-documented from their time together in Houston. Would that prevent a potential pursuit of Hopkins this offseason?
"Bill O'Brien is edgy with everyone," Rapoport answered. "But he's also a professional, and he also doesn't call the shots. And there are plenty of other people in Houston there who were involved in this sort of dissolving of the relationship. It wasn't just Bill.
"So could they coexist? I don't see why not. Bill O'Brien, just like Bill Belichick, likes really good players. DeAndre Hopkins likes really good teams. I could see that working if that's a situation they decided to get into."
Also in the new episode: Has the confidence returned to the building with the hiring of Bill O'Brien? And what's the future for Matt Patricia?
Check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch it on YouTube below: