Report: Where Patriots stand on Jeudy, Hopkins trade possibilities originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If the New England Patriots really won't pursue Lamar Jackson via trade, does that mean they'll target an elite wide receiver instead?
Earlier this month, The Athletic's Jeff Howe reported the Patriots had called about Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Denver Broncos wideout Jerry Jeudy as potential trade targets. Since then, however, not much has materialized on either front, with Broncos head coach Sean Payton insisting Denver won't trade Jeudy and Hopkins looking more like a long shot for New England.
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So, has anything changed in the wake of the NFL owners meetings in Arizona?
Curran: When Belichick says, 'I got this,' Patriots fans now worry
Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer dumped more cold water on the Hopkins front Thursday morning, reporting that New England wasn't even among the teams that sought permission to talk to Hopkins and his representatives after the Cardinals gave clubs the go-ahead to do so.
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ESPN's Dan Graziano also noted Thursday morning that Hopkins' rocky history with Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien -- who coached Hopkins in Houston and traded him from the Texans in 2020 -- is an "impediment" to Hopkins coming to New England. So, unless Bill Belichick is confident O'Brien and Hopkins would make peace, it's hard to see the wideout coming to Foxboro.
Breer cited Jeudy as the "more interesting" target for the Patriots, given his Alabama pedigree (Jeudy was Mac Jones' roommate in Tuscaloosa) and Belichick's close tie to Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. But it sounds like the Broncos are still playing hardball, with Breer suggesting they're still seeking a first-round pick in return for Jeudy.
"I’m just not sure New England would be willing to fish in those waters, especially with a crying need for tackle to be addressed with the 14th overall pick," Breer wrote.
That said, the door appears more open on Jeudy than Hopkins. Graziano wrote the Broncos "aren't hanging up the phone" when teams call them about Jeudy and fellow wideout Courtland Sutton, and Denver is in need of draft capital after sending its 2023 first- and second-rounders to Seattle in last year's Russell Wilson trade.
So, perhaps the Broncos will lower their price tag on Jeudy as the draft approaches, in which case the Patriots could be interested. And if Denver holds firm? Then New England might be shopping for a receiver with one of its early-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.