One of the biggest needs for the New England Patriots this offseason is to find more weapons for second-year quarterback Mac Jones, specifically at the wide receiver position. While there will be a number of notable pass-catchers hitting the free-agent market in just under two weeks, there’s also the trade avenue that the Patriots can explore.
According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal, New England has shown some interest in trading for Panthers receiver Robby Anderson. Joe Person of The Athletic characterizes the conversation between the two teams as exploratory and added that nothing appears imminent at this point.
This isn’t the first time that the Patriots have shown interest in Anderson. The 28-year-old himself admitted leading up to the Patriots-Panthers Week 9 matchup this past season that Bill Belichick tried to sign him as a free agent back in 2020. After considering signing with New England, Anderson instead inked a two-year, $20 million deal with Carolina and even agreed to a two-year extension last summer that has him under contract through the 2023 season.
In his reporting of the situation, Berdard illustrates that the possible acquisition of Anderson could result in the Patriots moving on from fellow receiver Nelson Agholor, who signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the team last offseason. Anderson and Agholor do have an overlapping skill set of being able to stretch the field, so there is a case to be made that there would be some redundancy within the offense if both were on the roster. The Patriots would save $4.9 million against the cap if they were to trade Agholor. In his first season with the team, he caught 37 passes for 473 yards and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Anderson is a former undrafted free agent out of Temple. He initially came up through the NFL with the New York Jets where he proved to be a viable deep threat. The best season of his career came in 2020 when he caught 95 passes for 1,096 yards and three touchdowns for the Panthers. Those reception and receiving yard totals were effectively cut in half in 2021, but Carolina was also plagued with subpar quarterback play throughout the year, which could be part of the reason for a down year.