Maybe a summer day on a holiday week is a time that should be reserved strictly for enjoying your all-too-short time on this spinning blue marble we call home. You only get so many 4th of July weeks. And perhaps they are best reserved for celebrations and moments of reverie. Not for worrying about things that might be weeks and even months from now. Especially things you have no control over.
Well, you enjoy your summer your way, I'll enjoy my summer mine. The Patriots are looking at a potential humiliating failure on the horizon. And I can balance floating in my White Trash above ground pool with an IPA in the cupholder, the Jimmy Buffett SiriusXM station on, and worry in my heart all at the same time. A little trick I pull off that I like to call "Multislacking."
ESPN asked all their NFL beat writers to select the most likely veteran training camp cut for the team they cover. And Mike Reiss had this to say:
Veteran in danger: N'Keal Harry, WR
Why he could get cut: Calling a third-year player a veteran might be questionable, but Harry not only has a crowded depth chart ahead of him in Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne, but also competition for the No. 4 or 5 role from others who seem to provide more value on special teams (such as Gunner Olszewski as a punt returner) or have a standout trait (such as Isaiah Zuber's speed). Harry's contract might help him stick around, as the Patriots would take a $2 million cap hit for letting him go. That could ultimately buy the 2019 first-round pick a bit more time to see if things turn around.
And really, who else could you choose? The moment Harry got hurt in the preseason of his rookie year, a digital countdown clock started like the one attached to the bomb in every action movie. Right now it's getting down to single digits and he has yet to show any sign he knows which wire to cut to stop the detonation. Or pull the plug:
Last year was a Prove It season for him. With a new quarterback who said all the right things about them working together and being on the same page - a page in a book that the previous quarterback had seemed to slam down on the rookie's finger in 2019 - he seemed to be finally be emerging with a Week 2 performance at Seattle that got him career highs in receptions with eight and yards with 72. He then proceeded to put up a total of six receptions for 61 yards over the Patriots next seven games. Then two weeks after that, posted his epic zero receptions on zero targets for zero yards but two drive-killing penalties stat line against Arizona.
And most of this coming without Julian Edelman in the lineup to draw most of the targets. Or without any tight ends, for that matter. Despite Harry's major competition for his QB's affections being Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd, he sank into the depth chart's Marianas Trench.
So yeah, it's fair to say he's standing in his career grave as he reports to camp on July 28th.
Reasonable Pats fans can differ on what has been the Dynasty Era's most disastrous draft pick. A lot of people like to go with Chad Jackson. Some argue for Laurence Maroney and even Sony Michel, despite him running them to a championship as a rookie. Personally, I'm all about Ras-I Dowling, as he was the first pick of Day 2 of the draft and therefore undoubtedly they turned down a ton of offers from team's looking to move up to No. 33 targeting someone who slipped through the 1st round.
But if Harry doesn't make the 2021 roster - as a matter of fact, if he does make it and keeps non-producing the way he's non-produced so far, he will retire GM Bill's Draft Bust trophy. He will have set a standard of failure that has never been matched. And that will never be duplicated if there is an all-loving and omnipotent God.
Here are the Class of 2019 Wide Receiver numbers, courtesy of Pro Football Reference:
And they're actually worse than that, given I stopped at Terry McLaurin on the assumption that anyone who's outproduced Harry but was taken in say, the 5th round (looking at you, Hunter Renfrow and Darius Slayton) was more a product of luck than brilliant GM-ing. So why overkill, when these numbers are bad enough on their own?
Part of me likes to think that Coach Bill loves Harry's name being included on lists like this. They've tried everything else with the guy. So why not put it out there that he's kneeling in unemployment's on-deck circle and hope that somehow turns him into a viable weapon? And hope that if somehow he figures out whatever has been missing, he'll earn the remainder of his rookie deal and end up being someone else's problem in three years. Or that - if you can imagine this - he'll be worthy of the 1st round pick they used on him and these last couple of years will be forgotten the way the slow starts of Edelman's, James White's and Troy Brown's careers were.
But that's a fool's hope. If I were a betting man, I'd put money on Mike Reiss being right.