The New England Patriots need additional manpower to boost their depth chart at wide receiver and tight end. As of now, the Patriots have a mix of veteran and young wideouts in Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett and rookies N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski. Harry returned to practice on Tuesday after missing the first six weeks of the season with an ankle injury. Harry still has two weeks on injured reserve but he joined practice to keep him up to speed when he returns to action.

The Patriots also have three tight ends in their fold with the reported re-signing of veteran Ben Watson and the signing of Eric Tomlinson, who previously played for the New York Jets and the New York Giants. Watson and Tomlinson will join Ryan Izzo while Matt LaCosse suffered a sprained MCL and could miss several weeks. The Patriots have until Oct. 29 to fill their needs via trade and according to NFL insider Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports, they could pursue five players who can help bolster their stock as they go for a seventh Super Bowl trophy.

Patriots could deal with Falcons for tight end, wideout

Among them are Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and tight end Austin Hooper. The Falcons are currently last in the NFC South with a 1-5 mark, losing their last four outings, and could blow their team up in anticipation of a rebuild for next season. The Falcons can get much-needed picks and salary cap room if they trade some of their key players, like Sanu and Hooper.

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However, Sullivan said the Patriots might need to create additional salary cap space to acquire Sanu, whose cap hit is $7.65 million, while New England has around $3.1 million in cap room. This was not the first time that Sanu’s name was mentioned in trade rumors with the Patriots. Earlier, former Patriots executive Mike Lombardi said the Patriots should pursue Sanu as he would be a great fit for the team.

Meanwhile, Sullivan said the price tag for Hooper is steep, considering he’s one of the Falcons’ bright spots this season. A third-round pick by the Falcons in 2016, Hooper has 42 catches for 480 yards and three touchdowns this season. However, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is known to be close with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who worked with the New England front office from 2002 to 2007.

Patriots could also pursue Bucs tight end O.J. Howard

Sullivan said underutilized tight end O.J. Howard is also a perfect trade target for the Patriots. The Buccaneers haven’t capitalized on Howard’s talent as quarterback Jameis Winston mostly relied on Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as targets. A former first round pick by Tampa Bay, Howard has just 13 receptions for 176 yards and no touchdown for the Buccaneers this season.

Last season, Howard tallied 34 catches for 565 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games. Sullivan said Howard will give Belichick and the Patriots a top-tier talent which they could unlock and develop. Sullivan also reported that the Patriots could pursue Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert.

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