Nelson Agholor signed with the New England Patriots in 2021 as part of an out-of-character Patriots offseason, where coach Bill Belichick not only spent a pretty penny in free agency, but he drafted quarterback Mac Jones with the No. 15 overall pick.
It was the highest Belichick had ever selected a quarterback.
Nelson Agholor and the Patriots agreed to a two-year, $22 million ($16 million guaranteed at signing) deal that at the time was considered an overpay. The veteran receiver struggled in year one to produce in a new system, with 37 receptions for 473 yards and three touchdowns. However, outside of 2020 with the Las Vegas Raiders, it was his best season in terms of yards per catch.
Flash forward to 2022, with Agholor entering his second and final year carrying a $14.8 million cap hit, DeVante Parker brought in via trade with the Miami Dolphins, and the Patriots selecting Tyquan Thornton at No. 50 overall at the 2022 NFL draft, there is growing concern that he could be the odd man out in New England.
This training camp has seen the immediate emergence of Parker, Thornton, and Tre Nixon, who have all shown they deserve a roster spot. And with Ty Montgomery serving as the dual threat role, there needs to be some wiggle room created in a busy Patriots receiving core, which is something we haven’t heard of in years.
If the Patriots do decide to keep camp standouts, Nixon and Kristian Wilkerson, there will need to be a decision on Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, and Agholor in terms of who stays and who goes. And based on the 2021 success, Agholor is the guy.
Another interesting piece is that Meyers and Bourne both play very different roles compared to Agholor, and Thornton has already proven he could compete this season. And he just so happens to play the same role as a true deep threat receiver. The Patriots would also free up around $8.98 million in cap space, putting them at the expected $13 million-plus to operate for the season, per Miguel Benzan (PatsCap on twitter).
Was asked in a DM about the salary cap implications of removing Nelson Agholor from the Patriots roster. The shown trade scenario presumes Agholor is the only player in the trade. pic.twitter.com/C5L6DAiIY9
— Miguel Benzan Patriots Equals 5,477,214 (@patscap) August 12, 2022
So with all signs pointing towards a potential Nelson Agholor trade, or cut, we take a look at potential landing spots and what an expected package could be from the following teams.
Chicago Bears snatch another Patriot WR
With the Chicago Bears desperately trying to find talent to fill out their offense, and to build around Justin Fields, a very obvious target could be Agholor. Granted, he’s no elite talent, but he could serve as a stop gap for 2022 due to his salary. And he could also give Bears quarterback Justin Fields one more target to help take some pressure off of him to do it all on the ground.
Chicago Bears Get: Nelson Agholor
New England Patriots Get: 2023 4th Round draft pick. New England to eat Nelson Agholor’s full contract for 2022.
Although this is not an ideal situation for New England, short term salary loss this season, with the additional fourth-round pick for a player most likely not on the roster in two weeks is a win. And no Patriots fans, Roquan Smith will take a lot more than just Agholor and a draft pick. So I highly doubt New England makes that trade.
Dallas Cowboys Get Dak Prescott a New Weapon
Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys have a pretty good offense, but adding Agholor for the season could be intriguing to owner Jerry Jones, who is not shy of spending a pretty penny for talent. They also have the cap space to potentially take on his entire salary, which would benefit the Patriots in many ways.
With the Patriots getting salary relief, the teams would go back and forth on compensation, particularly around a sixth-round pick in 2023. But the Patriots opted to defer the selection to 2024, opting to increase the value to a fifth-round selection.
Dallas Cowboys Get: Nelson Agholor
New England Patriots Get: 2024 5th round Pick
Tennessee Titans Strike A Deal
Tennessee does not need another wideout desperately. But Robert Woods isn’t quite ready, and AJ Brown was shipped to Philadelphia this offseason. The Titans could try and bank on an excellent camp by Agholor to add some weapons to the offense to hopefully help aide in their efforts to go deeper in the playoffs.
They can just squeeze him onto the roster without doing anything else. So there’s a nice opportunity to eat the money and give up less here for Tennessee.
Tennessee Gets: Nelson Agholor (Full Salary)
New England Gets: 2023 6th Round Draft Pick
Aaron Rodgers gets a new target.
After losing Davante Adams in the offseason, the Green Bay Packers targeted some rookie wideouts in the draft to hopefully help supplement the loss of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite weapon, who just so happens to be the league’s most dominant receiver.
The receiving corps is deep, but no one is much better than Agholor would be on that roster. At least right now, he could easily be the No. 2 option at receiver on day one. Since Green Bay is in a win-now mode, they’ll be a little more aggressive to try and get Agholor. They can also absorb his contract for this season, and given the circumstances, they’d be okay with losing a mid-round pick for a rental player.
Green Bay Packers Get: Nelson Agholor (Full Salary)
New England Patriots Get: 2023 4th Round Pick