The New England Patriots’ already thin receiving corps got thinner.
When watching the New England Patriots play last season, it was painfully obvious that the team needed to overhaul their entire receiving corps. Even trade deadline acquisition Mohamed Sanu couldn’t help the Patriots offense take a step in the right direction, and it came at the price of a 2020 second-round draft pick. Not even a full year since the trade, Sanu has been sent packing.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Patriots are releasing Sanu from his contract. However, the transaction won’t be made official until Thursday, which means New England could try and negotiate a trade with another NFL team. But that’s unlikely, considering Sanu currently carries a $6.5 million cap hit.
Patriots did little to improve the wide receiver position
At the midway point of last season, the Patriots were looking to give quarterback Tom Brady a weapon to make one final push to the Super Bowl. Initially, New England pursued Emmanuel Sanders from the Denver Broncos, but after talks went nowhere, the team got the Atlanta Falcons to give them Sanu. That turned out to be a colossal mistake, as the Falcons used New England’s second rounder to acquire Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst, whom the Patriots definitely could’ve used this season.
Sanu was essentially a non-factor, as he hauled in just 26 of his 47 targets for 207 yards and one touchdown. Of those 21 missed catches, four of them were drops, per Pro Football Reference. The Patriots were hoping that he’d make a difference in the postseason, but that didn’t happen either, as he caught just 1-of-5 targets for 11 yards in the Wild Card Round against the Tennessee Titans. Meanwhile, Sanders hauled in 36-of-53 targets for 502 yards and three scores as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, who made it to Super Bowl 54.
While Sanu was unimpressive, the thought of releasing him never came to mind, since the Patriots didn’t really do much to improve the position. The team signed Damiere Byrd and Marquis Lee, the latter of which opted out for the 2020 season. With Sanu gone, the Patriots receiving corps will now consist of Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski and Byrd — not an ideal group, but head coach Bill Belichick is confident in them. And as we all know, Belichick knows exactly what he’s doing.
Sanu will end up on another squad before the start of the 2020 season, but don’t expect it to come via trade.